Macaroni and cheese must be the king of all pastas, casseroles and bakes. Think about it: there aren't many people who can say they don't like it, and even less who have never tried it. There are so many ways to personalize it, adapt it and change it to fit your needs. I absolutely love it when I find a new mac and cheese recipe. I probably have over 50 between cookbooks and online blogs.
You can never have too many chocolate chip cookie recipes. Likewise, you can never have too many mac and cheese recipes either.
So here's another! Adapted and inspired by the book Ruhlman's Twenty, by Michael Ruhlman. It looks like a lot of stuff, but half of it is just seasonings.
This casserole came out beautifully. The fish sauce and wine gave it a savoury depth- you don't really taste either of the ingredients, but the pasta has a richness that is deep and satisfying. Definitely a favourite.
Mac and Cheese with Soubise
adapted from Ruhlman's Twenty
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3 tbsp all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 3 tbsp red wine
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce (can be found in the Asian aisle of your supermarket)
- 2 tsp mustard
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp cayenne
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp Frank's Hot Sauce (or your favourite hot sauce)
- 6 cups dry macaroni, rotini, or cavatappi
- 2 cups sharp, old cheddar
- 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 1/3 cup bread crumbs mixed with 1 tbsp olive oil
For soubise: melt 2 tbsp of butter in a pan on medium heat. Add the onions. Saute for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are softened and caramelized.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tbsp of butter. Add garlic and a pinch of salt. Cook for about a minute, or until butter starts to become golden. Add the flour, using a whisk to mix it with the butter. Cook until it smells toasty, 2-3 minutes.
Gradually add the milk, whisking quickly to prevent the flour from clumping. Cook until the sauce thickens, about 2-3 minutes.
Add a pinch of salt, apple cider vinegar, red wine, oyster sauce, mustard, pepper, nutmeg, cayenne, paprika and hot sauce. Add the sautéed onions and stir to combine. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth (or puree with a hand blender).
Add the cheese, saving about 1/2 cup for topping. Stir over low heat until cheese is melted. Keep warm until the pasta is ready.
Assembly: Preheat oven to 425F.
Bring a pot of salt water to boil*. Add pasta and cook, until al dente. Drain and return to the pot. Add the soubise and stir to coat.
Grease a 9x13" baking dish. Pour the pasta into the baking dish and top with the leftover cheese and Parmigiano. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is a beautiful golden brown. Serve immediately.
Note*: You can start the pasta before you tackle the soubise, as long as you remember to keep watch and it while you cook the sauce.