Foodie Friday: Macaroni and Cheese
I lost one of my senses this week and it was probably the most important one in culinary school and life as a chef…taste! We spent the week learning about fundamental sauces in the kitchen. However, 4 of the 5 French “Mother Sauces” have flour in them! Yup, that’s right, GLUTEN!
Everything we made this week used a combination of clarified butter and wheat flour as a base in the form of a “Roux”. Mother @#$% sauces! There was not a single thing I could taste before presenting my final product for our head chef to decide how well I executed the recipe. Can you imagine? We have to taste everything in order to determine how it is seasoned and when it is ready. I was presenting sauces for judgement and approval without the ability to taste them.
I had to rely on my general sense of seasoning proportions and ask my fellow students to give me their opinions. For one out of the 4 sauces I made, one student said I should add more salt. Other than that, I actually didn’t have to adjust any of them and Chef Sam approved of them all. Yes! I did it! Although, I still have no idea how they tasted and am not exactly sure how I did relative to my own palette. Isn’t that crazy?
One of the main sauces we made was béchamel. Béchamel is a milk-based sauce that uses a roux to thicken it as well as some onions, a bay leaf, clove and nutmeg for seasoning. We then turned the béchamel into a Mornay sauce which is essentially done by adding some shredded cheese and seasoning. I decided to make these sauces with my own gluten-free flour blend to take macaroni and cheese to the next level for all of us!
For the béchamel:
Sweat 1/4 onion, chopped, with 1 T butter (cook over medium-low heat until translucent without getting any color)
Add 2 T butter and 2 T gluten-free flour blend of your choice (I used this blend) and whisk together until incorporated
Add 22 oz (2 3/4 cups) of whole milk and bring just to simmering. Add 1/4 onion with small bay leaf and clove. Lower heat and let simmer for about 30 minutes.
Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg, to taste.
Here is my bechemel sauce cooking:
Meanwhile, you can boil any pasta of your choice and pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. I made a package of Bionaturae gluten-free elbows for this batch. I really like Schar pastas too.
For the Mornay Sauce:
Add 2/3 cup shredded Gruyere and 2/3 cup shredded Parmesan Reggiano to béchamel, off of the fire, while it is still hot. Whisk in slowly to incorporate. Season with additional salt and pepper (I added a dash of paprika as well). Let sit for about 5 minutes.
Here is a pic of the shredded Gruyere and Parmesan Reggiano waiting to get incorporated into the sauce. Yum!:
Once your Mornay sauce is all set, you just put the cooked macaroni in a baking dish, cover with the sauce, top with shredded cheddar (about 1/4 cup) and sprinkle on your favorite breadcrumbs (mine are Aleia’s Italian seasoned gluten-free breadcrumbs). Once all put together, cover with foil and bake for about 20 minutes until hot and bubbly. Take off the foil and continue to bake for an additional 5 minutes or so until the breadcrumbs get a little crunchy. Here is what the finished product should look like:
Sometimes pictures are better than words and I felt this post needed more than just one. I hope you enjoyed it and will take your next homemade macaroni and cheese to the next level with a mother @#$% Mornay sauce!