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Eclecticisms: Fancy "Cheesy Noodles"

Monday, March 22, 2010

Fancy "Cheesy Noodles"

Although it was one of my favorite foods as a kid, it took me quite a few years to find out what macaroni was. "Cheesy Noodles" was always a favorite in my house (at least, among us kids). My Mom used to make it with porkchops fairly often (way back in my meat eating days!). One day, fate happened, and it met with applesauce on my plate- I discovered what a great mixture that is. Now, on the very rare occasion I have the cheap Kraft Mac n Cheese, I want applesauce on it! However, homemade mac n cheese is still on the top of my list of favorite foods and it does NOT need applesauce. I've made it several times from scratch, but I hadn't made a mac n cheese casserole in a very long time.

I've been craving mac n cheese for awhile. The last time I was in Trader Joe's (this past weekend) I ran across a cheese I'd never tried and was intrigued. In case you've never been to Trader Joe's, they have little blurbs on the price signs, either with a clever saying or information about the product. Apparently, this Moriber French cheese makes "the best mac n cheese ever". Ever? Really? I was intrigued. Time to try it out!

I started using a recipe from The Pioneer Woman, but ended up making a few changes. You can use the original recipe, follow "my" version, or adapt it to be  your own! Either way, this is a classic, cheesy and delicious dish that is a good staple for any occasion. (If you have guests that don't like mac n cheese, you should probably be suspicious...).

1 box macaroni
1 egg
1/4 cup salted butter (plus more for sauteeing)
1/2 sweet onion (finely sliced)
4 Tbs flour
2 1/2 cups soy milk
2 tsp dry mustard
4 oz cheddar
2 slices American
No idea how much I used... but I used a good chunk of Morbier. Maybe 6 oz? Maybe more?
Potato Chips (optional) I used Kettle Cooked, 40% less fat... as if it matters at this point!
1/2-1 tsp cayanne pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste (As The Pioneer Woman states in the recipe... don't under salt. It's not worth it!)

Cook noodles until very al dente. I let them go about 6 minutes (add noodles after water has come to a rolling boil and salt the water.) While noodles cook,whisk the egg in a small bowl.  Once noodles are done, stir in a bit of butter (about 1 Tbs, so they do not get sticky) and place in a casserole dish. Set aside.

While the noodles cook, you may also begin to sautee the onion in approx. 1 Tbs butter. Allow to cook over low heat for sometime. You want the onions see-through, but not burnt.
Now is a good time to preheat your oven... 350 degrees will do it!

This part of the recipe was very exciting... I learned what a roux is! Basically, it is a combination of butter (or oil) and flour, used as a gravy base and/or thickener. Melt 1/4 cup butter in a sauce pan. once melted, whisk in the flour. The mixture will be clumpy at first... be patient! Keep whisking over heat for about 5 minutes, and you will end up with a beautiful, creamy roux. Don't make my mistake and use a pan... it won't cook as well. I ended up transferring it to a sauce pan pretty quickly when I saw it was staying clumpy.

Too clumpy...


Add milk and dry mustard. Allow to cook about 10 minutes. The original recipe said the sauce would thicken... mine didn't. I'm guessing it was because I used soy milk, though everything I've read (and in my limited experience) has shown that it generally doesn't make a difference. Because of this I added the grated cheddar to the sauce and whisked until smooth so my sauce would be nice and thick.
With sauce on low heat, remove 1/4 cup's worth and add to egg, whisking until cool. This stops the egg from cooking when you add it to the sauce. I was super excited to learn another cooking term, tempering! I'm starting to feel like a pro! Well, not really. I'm closer though!


Once egg is thoroughly mixed, add to your sauce. This is where I added all the other cheeses, except for half of the Morbier. Whisk, allowing  for cheese to melt (it doesn't take long!). It's sort of like fondue at this point.. and super delicious!

Check out this cheesy goodness...

Season with cayanne, salt, pepper, thyme and mix in the onion.

Pour sauce over noodles and mix well.

Cover in slices of remaining Morbier (don't worry... that's vegetable ash, not mold. It's supposed to look that way!)

I really wish my camera was able to pick up colors better... without natural light my images never do a dish justice!

Sprinkle on desired amount of potato chips. There was so much cheese, that I was used them sparingly.

Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

This recipe is delicious and VERY cheesy. Because it is so rich, I would recommend serving this as scrumptios side and not the  main dish (unless you trying to tempt a heart attack...). Or, I guess you could just use less cheese. But, really? Who wants to do that? Nicht mich!

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At March 23, 2010 at 12:23 PM , Blogger Leslie said...

Mmm... This looks delish. Sick days always make me want mac and cheese - so I had lasagna for breakfast.

At March 30, 2010 at 11:49 AM , Blogger Son of X said...

Having had it only the day after, and not fresh from the oven, I will say that it heats up very well too, and didn't seem nearly as "rich" and "super cheesy" as it was described as being that first night. Still quite delicious.


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