Holiday Side Dishes – Baked Macaroni and Cheese (Part 2)

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 16,833
    Chef Arra Lawson from Addie’s Restaurant demonstrates the second part of how to make baked macaroni and cheese.

    Chef Verra: Hi I am Chef Verra and today we are featuring traditional holiday dishes and we will be finishing the big macaroni with aged cheddar. Alright, we are just about there we going to add our cheese sauce over to our pasta dish. Before we do, we need to do a few extra additional things just to make sure we have it right what we wanted. I encourage you to always go, and taste and check your sauce and see if you like it. See if it needs any adjusting, it needs more salt, it needs more pepper. I am going to add now a little bit of chopped shallots to this dish. I like that onionny flavor to kind of be in there, cheese and onions are just great; work really well together. It goes really well in this dish. You add it right into the cheese sauce, I am putting about one table spoon in. Again, we don't cook by numbers here, so you do everything to taste. You have an approximate amount of what makes it work really well together and from there we tweak a little bit. If you want it you can use a regular American cheddar, or you could change and use blue cheese if you like. But for this particular dish we use an aged white cheddar.

    Now, we are going to transfer this cheese sauce to our casserole and just again so you can see the consistency, remember what we started out with, a really pasty mix of flour and butter. We then added cream to it. From that stage we are going from a roux to a fondue. We then added cheese to it and made it a cheese sauce. And you can see now just how smooth the sauce is. Nice and creamy; you could see the little bits of the shallots in there. Now we are just going to transfer this sauce right over our pasta in casserole.

    Also, remember when you are making the pasta dish like I explained before, always put a little oil or butter or pan spray in the bottom, just so that it doesn't stick too much and burn on the bottom. It may tend to get a little crisp, this is just help you avoid that and primarily we got to clean up at the end. You have to do so much of a hard job having to clean this casserole dishes out. That's just a little tip. Keep that in mind. Okay so we pour our cheese sauce on top. One last thing, because it is a big dish and it is going into the oven, and for it to really have a nice presentation, try this extra a little bit. This is a bread crumb topping. Now in this particular bread crumb topping, we have added what we call fines herbes. Fines herbes will be a mixture of hard herbs. They have very nice aromatic smell to them. So it will be like thyme, rosemary. You can use chives, parsley. And so that's what we have done here, we have taken a little bit of those, chop them up really fine. And so the word fines in french is fine, which means you cut it really small so that it can be very edible. Now we have added just a little bit of some baking into this one as well. Put it all in a food processor. For this amount we took about a half a cup of bread crumbs. About half one table spoon of combine fines herbs, another table spoon of baking, and just another two table spoons of parmesan cheese. All blended up or in a food processor. All blended up and then just sprinkle that right on top. This is ready to go we will put in the oven. Pre-heat your oven to about 350 degrees. 375, depending on -- you know your oven the best. Some ovens go a little bit hotter than actually the number reads so keep that in mind. That's why I usually start with 315, and if you want to turn it up in the way through process you can. If you need to turn it down, you can also do that. Bread crumb on top, nice and golden. It will take about 15 to 18 minutes depending on your oven and that's it.

    Look how beautiful that big macaroni with aged cheddar dish can be. Just right for a size for this holiday, any holiday, anytime of the year. Why wait for the holidays, and that's how you make big macaroni with aged cheddar. And coming up next will be one of my all time favorites. warm cornbread stuffing with wild mushrooms, just fantastic.