Macaroni and Cheese: From Microwavable to Haute Cuisine

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Macaroni and cheese has evolved from its European lineage into one of the most popular American comfort foods.  The history of mac and cheese can be traced back to the similar dishes that were created in the Old World from the likes of the Swiss Älplermagronen (macaroni, cheese, cream, onions and potatoes) to the pasta and cheese casserole called Makoun that was already mentioned in a 14th century cookbook in England.  A tasty combination of melted butter and cheese folded in with hand-cut pasta was found as dish among the upperclass in 18th century Italy.

Inevitably, the traditional mac and cheese also finds its similarities with the French béchamel.  A béchamel sauce is a result of a flour-butter roux mixed with scalding milk; this creates a creamy base where cheese is folded and melted in.   This cheesy and creamy white sauce makes a great topping for the cooked elbow macaroni pasta.  To make baked macaroni and cheese, simply pour the béchamel sauce on top of undercooked pasta, sprinkle with some breadcrumbs, and then place cook it in the oven for 10-15 minutes.  With these easy steps, the basic macaroni and cheese is probably one of the easiest recipes you can whip up for some comfort and delicious goodness.

Over the years, the beloved mac and cheese has managed to evolve from its basic packaged mix Kraft manufacturers the most popular packaged mac-and-cheese in the market which has, for many decades, served millions of American families their easy but yummy dinner.  However, despite the fact that Kraft has made mac and cheese the ultimate answer for a simple, homemade fast dinner, many cooks still love to explore the possibilities of the combination of elbow macaroni pasta and their choice of cheese.

Variations of the mac and cheese can range from the usual $3 box to restaurant interpretations that can go as high as $13 per plate. Because of the mac and cheese is a strong tasty dish with basic flavors and minimal ingredients, it is inevitable that this lowly meal can go as pretty complex as it can without losing its fundamental cheesy and creamy goodness.

When you make your next mac and cheese, delve into the adventure of turning this basic meal into something that is along the lines of haute cuisine.  Lobster and macaroni and cheese adds some seafood sophistication with cooked lobster meat complemented with cheesy Gruyere and extra sharp cheddar.

 

You can also add some heat to this comfort food by making Spicy Macaroni and Cheese.  Let the exotic spices of coriander and cumin mixed with Jalapeno chilies do wonders with Monterey Jack, extra sharp cheddar and Parmesan.

 

Or you can take the exotic to the next level by putting together a Curried Macaroni and Cheese that balances the mustard and curry powder with a cup of grated Mexican blend.

 

 

If you want to go simple and more family-dinner friendly, make the regular mac and cheese special by adding some extra jaw action; surprise every bite with Gooey Macaroni and Cheese Casserole.

 

And of course, to add something extra special to that favorite mac and cheese add-on, bacon, you can turn the basic into a Four Cheese Macaroni and Cheese.  Give the macaroni, basic cheese sauce and bacon with an astounding cheesy kick as you add Gruyere, Fontina, Gorgonzola and Parmesan cheese in the lovely mixture.

Last but not the leas, you can also serve your mac and cheese as a healthy dinner alternative by serving an organic version.  From the butter to the pasta, Organic Mac and Cheese is a great mac and cheese staple your family will eventually come to love.

Next time you look at a lump of macaroni and cheese, just think of how this simple block of yellow and creamy goodness has distinguished itself from its European kin.  From the microwavable to the haute meals, macaroni and cheese’s infinite possibilities come from the basic fact that it is simple, uncomplicated, and yes, truly delicious.

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Yasmin Coles

Yasmin Coles

Yasmin Coles

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