Dry Mac 'n Cheese?
- anthonyrza Nov 29, 2007 01:40 PM
Recently made some mac and cheese. 1T butter, 1T flour roux with 1 cup whole milk. Added about 1 cup shredded fontina and a little bit of smoked gruyere. Tossed al dente elbow mac with it, topped with shaved pecorino and baked at 400° for about 25 minutes until top was brown. The crust on the top was delicious and the flavor was robust but the sauce underneath was a bit dry- not the flowing ooziness I was hoping for. Any suggestions on how to attain this? Should I just cook for less time, or add less flour? I also have some wine bathed aged goat cheese waiting in the wings for my next attempt...
I would like to stay away from any processed cheese or heavy cream if possible.
I suspect that much of the initial liquid in the sauce either vaporized or was absorbed by the pasta. The initial mixture should be somewhat wetter than what you want at the end.
Agreeing with paulj, and having experienced similar to you, I learned to be generous on the sauce and mean on the pasta, for the casserole to turn out with the right sauce to pasta ratio. The pasta, starting out in the sauce, al dente, does soak up some of the liquid from the sauce. Here's a question for you....did you use hot pasta that you'd just cooked, and cooled a little? Or was it cooked, then well cooled? I find that well cooled, it soaks up less of the sauce, but enough to bind the sauce and to the pasta. Still hot, it continues to soak up any local liquid it can find.
Being super lazy, I just end up drizzling warm milk over the entire thing when I take it out.
Also, 25 minutes seems a bit long, maybe that's the cause? I always stick mine under the broiler for a few minutes...
I actually only used 1/4 lb of macaroni for that recipe I described, though I think the problem was probably cooking it too long and having the pasta soak up too much of the sauce. Next time I'll just brown the cheese on top quickly and hopefully that keeps the underneath creamy and viscous.
Yikes! In that case I wonder if using a smaller pan, so that the macaroni is deeper, might also help (less surface area for evaporation...though also less surface area of crispiness). Either less time in the oven or a lower temp would help for sure; I do mine at 325 or 350 for 20 or 30 minutes, but if you want a really crispy top you might also broil it briefly ... Good luck.
If you want an oozy mac and cheese, I would say cook it much less. I think the more you cook it, the more it sets. Just brown the top in a broiler for 5 or so until as dark as you like it.
A lot more cheese sauce. Here are the proportions I use for a 1 lb box of macaroni:
5 cups milk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
4 cups shredded white Cheddar cheese (about 1 pound)
2/3 cup Gorgonzola (about 4 ounces), at room temperature
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 6 ounces)
I too would add more milk. I find that mac and cheese made from unprocessed cheese tends not to be very oozy.