Thursday, April 9, 2009

Sacrilege! Messing with Mac & Cheese

The 1970s were dark years. Very dark. Americans, this is what English people were doing to your beloved national dish.

This recipe is from Make a Meal of Cheese (1974), a book put out by the "Cheese Information Service." Which I know sounds like something from Monty Python, but that's England for you.

Anyway, it was one of our favorite meals as children. I got the recipe when I was back home and made it last night for Jack. He... loved it! How unpatriotic.

The Recipe: Macaroni Mushroom Toss
(Adapted from Make a Meal of Cheese)

  • 8 oz short pasta of some kind [don't remember my mum ever using the little elbow stuff you use for mac & cheese - last night I used mostaccioli]
  • 8 oz button mushrooms, quartered (or regular mushrooms, sliced)
  • 1 large onion (or 2 small), chopped
  • Olive oil [the original used copious amounts of butter, but times have changed]
  • 1.5 oz butter
  • 1.5 oz all-purpose flour
  • 16 fl oz (1 US pint) milk
  • 0.5 tspn mustard powder (or 1 tspn regular mustard)
  • 8 oz mature Cheddar cheese, grated
  • Salt & pepper

Serves 4-6

1. Preheat oven to 450F.

2. Cook pasta according to directions on box. Drain.

3. Meanwhile, saute onions in a little olive oil until translucent; remove from pan. Saute mushrooms till tender; remove from pan. Combine with cooked pasta.

4. Make cheese sauce (I'm guessing my mum would use her microwave method, see below). Melt butter in saucepan, then incorporate flour and mustard powder, and cook for approx. 3 mins, stirring constantly. Add milk a little at a time and heat, whisking continuously, till thickened. Add three-quarters of the cheese and stir till melted. Season with salt & pepper.

5. Combine cheese sauce with pasta mixture. Place in greased 2 quart baking dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

6. Bake for 15 mins, until bubbling and browned.


No screw-ups with the cheese sauce this time, though it's still a bit stressful. I think the secret may lie in making sure both the roux and the sauce itself cook for long enough. (Didn't use the microwave method, as wanted to practice the old-school way.)


Proof, if it were needed, that you can find anything on ebay...

End of step 5

Out of the oven

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