Todd Gray: Hi, I am Todd Gray from Equinox Restaurant and we are preparing homemade Macaroni and cheese. We are going to start by salting our boiling water, always cook your pasta in salted water and we are going to add our elbow macaroni, being careful not to splatter any hot water on ourselves, we will add the whole box, it would be enough for about 6 to 8 people. Let's give that a little stir in making so that none of it is sticking to the bottom. Then we need to cook the pasta for about 5 to 7 minutes until it is just cooked.
While this is cooking we are going to be able to make our cheese sauce or our Bechamel. So we will start with our Bechamel. Just turn our heat on to a low heat. We are going to start by adding our butter and we have our three tablespoons of butter. A Bechamel is a fundamental thickening agent that we use for thickening sauces or soups.
We are going to melt our butter and then we are going to add our flour. Typically, a Roux is about 50:50 butter to flour. If you are going to increase the amount of sauce that you are making, you follow the 50:50 ratio of butter to flour. Now that my butter has melted, I am going to add my three tablespoons of flour, let's stir the Roux here, bringing it together, making what we call a blonde roux, it is the lightly cooked roux as opposed to a dark roux used in some of the Louisiana style cooking when we do Gumbo. This is a blonde roux. Now that our roux has come together, it looks like a paste ultimately. We are going to add cold milk. One thing that's important to understand is we either work with hot roux and cold milk or we use hot milk and cold roux. Either is fine, but they definitely have to be different temperatures for the dish to be successful.
Now, I add my milk straight into our hot pot. I am stirring with my wooden spoon, a very valuable piece of equipment to have in the kitchen, a wooden spoon. When you are working with metal pots you want to try to avoid any stirring of metal to metal. Hence, why I am using a wooden spoon. Then with the help of a small whisk I am going to whisk gradually, going up in and around the pot, being sure that we get rid of any of the lumps that might have not been broken up with our spoon, very carefully not to grind our pot with our whisk.
We give a good crank of fresh cracked black pepper. I always like to use fresh cracked black pepper. It has a much bigger, fuller flavor then using a pre-ground spice that might be up in your spice rack. They are my rule of thumb when we are cooking, fresh cracked black pepper and a good salt, this is a sea salt. Now, what we want to do here is let this Bechamel cook for about 7 to 10 minutes. I am being very sure that we don't boil the Bechamel. The reason we don't want to boil the Bechamel is that if we do, the milk is going to curdle, separate and we are going to have this what we call, breakage, so we want to avoid that.
So after our Bechamel has cooked for 7 to 10 minutes and our pasta is just cooked we are going to drain the pasta and then take our Bechamel over it, add our white cheddar cheese and finish this wonderful Macaroni and cheese.