Holiday Side Dishes – Baked Macaroni and Cheese (Part 1)

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 20,614
    In this video Chef Arra Lawson demonstrates how to make a delicious baked macaroni and aged cheddar cheese.
    Arra Lawson: Welcome I am Arra Lawson, chef at Addies Restaurant. Today we will be preparing a Baked Macaroni Cheddar dish with Aged Cheddar. The few things you need to get started for preparing this dish today is obviously some tools.  You need a medium pot in order to make the sauce that we are going use or make and use in the pasta dish, we also need a cheese grader, a wooden spoon and a spatula, just a few of the tools you need today, perhaps a measuring cup as well. What you have here before you is Pasta, I am using a Tubetti Pasta, but you can use Elbow Macaroni or a pasta of your choice. A few of the other ingredients going into making today's big Macaroni dish will be the cheese obliviously, butter, flour, this is all purpose flour, we are going use it to make what we call a roux. A roux is a standard thickening agent in order to make a cheese sauce. If I just try to put this cheese right in the pan it would never really melt properly, it would scorch, burn and I am never going to able to do a proper sauce. But by adding the butter and the flour to the cheese you actually end up with -- well we are going to show you.  So we are going to start by putting in first just several pieces of butter. I put here probably about half a pound of butter and I am going to use that much for this dish. We will probably only use several ounces to get it started. We will allow this butter to melt, you can see it's starting to melt here. I have what you would consider maybe a medium-low flame, you don't want it too high and the reason why I say that is sometimes if you are not experienced with using butter a lot, it tends to get dark on you and we want our sauce to stay really nice and really be able to highlight this nice white cheddar we are using today.  So you don't want it to turn brown, so keep your eye on that. I will give you a little secret tip though. If you want be a little careful about that browning, add a little olive oil or vegetable oil to the dish. That allows it to sort of have a higher smoke point that's what we call it in the kitchen, higher smoke point. So it won't burn quite as fast and it gives you a little bit larger room for error there. So you can see it's starting to melt really nicely, we want it all the the melted. Let's see there get it in the camera. So that's nice and melted now all the way through. I am doing a little swirling action, it just kind of keeps it from getting too hot on one spot, you don't have to really do that at home, that's fine. Okay, it's completely melted now. Now we take our wooden spoon, we will add about a half of cup of flour. Our roux was a combination of butter and flour, usually in equal parts. So if you are going to use a half a pound of butter, you use a cup of flour. That pretty much ratio will make about one quart of the actual cheese sauce and that cheese sauce would be enough to make this medium size casserole, which will feed approximately four people. So then we stir that up and the reason why I am using a wooden spoon, is because anytime you stirring something in a metal pan you can get what we call reactive property and what happens is may get that slight metal taste. It's not harmful, won't hurt you but it will not make the dish as nice a dish as it can be. So we definitely want to make sure that we keep that in mind. All those little things make a lot of difference. So I add a little bit flour more, what's going to happen is this is going to thicken up. It's similar to making a gravy because a roux is actually the same as a base for making a gravy and many other dishes. What we going do now is, as you can see it's starting to become nice and almost really thick all the lumps are gone, that's what you want to make sure you cook out all the lumps, at which point once we begin to cook out all the lumps, we are going to add some cream to our roux mix and this is going to go from a roux to a "Fundoo". Nice, I like that word "Fundoo" because it's fun to do and maybe they are on to something. So you just see this has thickened out quite nicely, it's almost like a paste almost. Nice and smooth as you can look into  the texture, it's very smooth. We are going to make sure all the flour is cooked out, so just give it a little check, look around in there, make sure there are no pockets of flour hanging out. Then very simply add cream to the consistency that you like. I personally like mine a little bit creamy when I make the roux, some people like their roux a lot thicker and tighter, what happens is the denser your roux is, the denser the sauce is and the heavier your Macaroni in our cheese dish will be.  So you kind of want to keep eye on that, if you like it really thick some people might found that they like it really -- almost so they can cut into the macaroni like a pie. I like mine a little bit creamy so it's almost like on the spoon when it comes out of oven it's nice and bubbly. I just like that personally and that's all I could serve you at the restaurant as well. Alright, so we are just about there now, getting sufficient amount of cream in there. You can see what it looks like as the cream is beginning to thicken and it's really simple making this dish as you can see it hasn't taken a lot of time at all. The only thing it really requires is lot of attention as far as watching the product, so that it doesn't burn, and that you get the consistency get all the lumps out. So we do now is we actually add the cheese and we make it what we call a "Fundoo" or this will be called béchamel at this stage. But we won't be getting into all types of typical terms, what you needs to know right now is that this is just simply cream, you can use milk if you want to watch your diet a little bit that's perfectly fine or you can use milk, add it to flour and butter. I am going to add a little Parmesan just because I like the balance of the flavor, the Parmesan with the white shadow. Then simply we are just going to come over and grade a fair amount of white cheddar right into the pot. That's why I say this is a fun to do. So put it right in, it's going to melt right away, I am going to put right into the dish. I want you to watch that, just look at it, it's just melting right away. If we try to put that cheese right into this pan like this we will never come out this creamy, never come out this way.