Saturday, October 19, 2013

Souffle-Style Mac and Cheese

I think this is supposed to be a main dish but I can't live on cheese and pasta alone. For me, it's a side dish. Hidden behind a huge wedge of macaroni above is the main course! My adaptations were minor to accommodate the ingredients I had on hand; regarding the cheese, the package quantity of white cheddar was offset by Swiss. There was supposed to be an equal amount of each. And because there was so much cheese already, I didn't feel bad when omitting the Parmesan that was supposed to be used on top.

Souffle-Style Mac and Cheese
from Cooking Club, Fall 2013
click to print

8 oz. elbow macaroni
3 tbsp butter, plus a little more for the dish
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 1/2 c whole milk
6 eggs, separated, room temperature
1 1/4 c shredded Swiss cheese (5 oz.)
1 3/4 c shredded white cheddar cheese (7 oz.)

Heat oven to 375°F. Coat 13x9-inch glass baking dish with butter.

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.

Total cooking time: 6 minutes, half the time stated in the directions.

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat.

Whisk in flour, salt and pepper. Cook 1 minute, whisking constantly.

Whisk in milk; bring to a boil, whisking constantly until thickened.

Whisk egg yolks in medium bowl until blended. Very slowly whisk in about half of the hot milk mixture.

I learned while whisking the milk into flour that my whisk handle was holding water. UGH! It was wrapped with paper towel to prevent bug juice from getting into my eggs. Note to self: buy a new whisk.

Add yolk mixture to saucepan. Cook 1 minute over low heat; whisking constantly; remove from heat.

Beat egg whites in large bowl at medium-high speed 2-3 minutes or until stiff peaks form.

Fold egg whites into warm sauce.

Combine Swiss and cheddar cheeses in medium bowl. Reserve about 1/4 cup of combined cheeses.

I just combined the two cheeses across the plates they were grated on.

Layer half each of the pasta, cheese mixture and sauce in baking dish. Repeat layers, smoothing top.

Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake 20 minutes or until puffed and golden brown.

And if you let it cool for an hour while goofing with a meaty main dish, it'll look like this:

Macaroni and cheese is good and this didn't fail; but I'm not sure that I'd call it my favorite. Don't count on my palate to guide you in the macaroni and cheese category since I am a sucker for the blue box, little milk, add ketchup after plating. With all the egg in this one ketchup didn't seem right.

The dish turned out creamy and fluffy, no doubt from the two-part process of handling the yolks and whites. Was it worth the effort? Weeeell, I'm not convinced it's for me.

  • macaroni: $0.48
  • butter: $: $0.15
  • all-purpose flour: $0.01
  • milk: $0.37
  • eggs: $1.90
  • Swiss cheese: $4.41
  • white cheddar cheese: $4.99
Total: $12.31 or about $1.54 for each of eight very generous servings