Second to making tomato sauce, I like making cheese sauce for macaroni and cheese. And it’s mum’s brilliant idea to always freeze any leftover cheese you may have (from cheese plates etc) to use the next time you’re making a cheese sauce. It makes for a unique turnout every time! So, first you melt butter w/ an equal amount of flour (don’t worry, I’ll post an actual recipe further down) over medium heat until you have what’s called a “roux”.
Once you’ve got your roux (pictured below), cook it for a couple of minutes to get rid of the “floury” taste. It will look like this:
Then, once you’ve cooked your roux, you can add your liquid… milk/ cream/ half & half… I usually use whatever I have in the fridge, in this case a small amount of half & half and fat free milk (works surprisingly well). Mix with a whisk until all roux has melted into the liquid and there are no more lumps. You’ll see the sauce start to thicken at this point so watch over it and stir often.
Next you will add the seasoning… nutmeg, salt & pepper. I like to buy the nutmeg whole and use a grater or microplane to grate it into the sauce.
Now comes the cheese… once the sauce is starting to bubble, turn the heat to low and add all your different cheeses. I also added some white wine at this point. Keep stirring as the cheeses slowly start to melt…
… and don’t stop until you have a smooth and creamy sauce.
So then all you have left to do is cook your pasta and toss with the hot cheese sauce!
And then it’s time to eat! Sometimes I add breadcrumbs & pecorino or parmesan to the top and broil to make a crunchy crust which is also really good, I just didn’t feel like it this time!
Sorry for the lack of recipe… I’ve made this so many times I usually just wing it now, but here is an adaption of the Barefoot Contessa’s recipe to give you an idea of ingredients and measurements:
- 1 pound elbow macaroni or cavatappi
- 1 quart milk
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 12 ounces Gruyere, grated (4 cups)
- 8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 cups)
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)