3 Extra-Crispy Ways To Eat Mac ‘N’ Cheese

Sometimes it needs to crunch, you know? (courtesy of Homeroom restaurant’s The Mac + Cheese Cookbook)

1. Make Mac ‘N’ Cheese pancakes.

Sara Remington

How to Make Mac-Cakes


SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS
1 cup dried small elbow pasta
1/2 cup Mac Sauce (recipe below)
1 cup grated cheese 
(Cheddar is classic, but any other favorite cheese will also work)
1 large egg
1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Drink pairing: Mimosas or Bloody Marys

PREPARATION
Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until a little less than al dente. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain the pasta again.

Mix the sauce, cheese, and egg together in a bowl. Add the cooked pasta and stir together until evenly mixed. Place the panko bread crumbs in a separate bowl.

Place about 2 tablespoons of the mac mixture in the bowl of panko. Gently roll it around in the panko to form a ball that is fully coated with bread crumbs. 
It is a little hard to work with, but don’t worry, it doesn’t need to be perfect — it’s about to be flattened out into a pancake!

Heat a griddle or nonstick skillet over medium heat, and butter the pan generously. Place the ball of mac and cheese on the pan, and press it down with the back of the spatula until it flattens out into a thick pancake (not too thin, or it will break apart). Repeat with enough pancakes spaced at least 1 inch apart to fill the griddle or skillet.

Cook the pancakes on one side until brown and crispy, about 2 minutes, then flip and cook the other side until brown and crispy, another 2 minutes. Transfer the pancakes from the griddle to a serving plate. Repeat, adding more butter as needed, until all the pancakes have been cooked.

Eat the pancakes as soon as they are ready for maximum crispiness and cheesy gooeyness.

2. Make Mac ‘N’ Cheese for breakfast.

Sara Remington

How to Make Breakfast Mac


SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS
1/2 pound dried elbow pasta
1/2 pound sliced bacon
2 cups Mac Sauce (recipe below)
2 cups grated extra-sharp, aged Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large eggs
Freshly ground black pepper
Beer Pairing: IPA
Wine Pairing: Rosé

PREPARATION
Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until a little less than al dente. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain the pasta again.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Cook the bacon in a frying pan over high heat until crispy, about 8 minutes. Remove extra grease by patting the strips with a paper towel, and then cut into bite-size pieces.

Add the sauce and cheese to a large, heavy-bottomed pot and cook over medium heat. Stir until the cheese is barely melted, about 3 minutes. Add the bacon and stir to combine. Slowly add the cooked pasta, stir, and continue cooking while stirring continuously until the dish is nice and hot, another 5 minutes.

Spoon the mac and cheese into 4 individual, 5-inch-diameter ovenproof bowls. Sprinkle the panko evenly on top of each bowl. Bake until bubbly, 10 to 15 minutes.

While the macs are cooking, fry the eggs: Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Crack 2 of the eggs into the pan, cover, and let cook undisturbed for 3 to 4 minutes. The eggs are done when all the egg white is completely opaque, and the yolk is still nice and bright. Slide the eggs onto a plate and repeat with the remaining tablespoon of butter and 2 eggs.

Remove the macs from the oven, and slide a fried egg on top of each one. Top each egg with some black 
pepper. Serve immediately.

3. Put Mac ‘N’ Cheese on top of a casserole.

Sara Remington

How To Make Shepherd’s Mac


SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS
1/2 pound dried elbow pasta
3/4 pound ground beef
Kosher salt
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup frozen peas, thawed and drained
2 cups Mac Sauce (recipe below)
2 cups grated aged, sharp English Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
Beer Pairing: Nutty Brown Ale
Wine Pairing: Rhône Blend

PREPARATION
Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until a little less than al dente. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain the pasta again.

Add the ground beef to a large sauté pan and season with 1 tablespoon of kosher salt. Cook over medium heat, breaking the meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until cooked through and no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a large bowl.

Add the onion and carrots to the sauté pan and cook in the fat rendered from the ground beef, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the peas, and continue cooking for another 3 to 4 minutes. Add the veggies to the bowl with the meat and stir to combine.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Add the sauce and cheese to a large, heavy-bottomed pot and cook over medium heat. Stir until the cheese is barely melted, about 3 minutes. Slowly add the cooked pasta, stir, and continue cooking while stirring continuously until the dish is nice and hot, another 5 minutes.

Spread the ground beef–veggie mixture in a 14-inch casserole pan. Spoon on the mac and cheese in an even layer, and finish with a layer of panko. Bake until bubbly and the topping is golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Spoon into bowls and serve hot.

Master Mac Sauce Recipe


MAKES 3 CUPS

INGREDIENTS
3 cups whole milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt or 
1 teaspoon table salt

PREPARATION
Heat the milk in a pot over medium heat until it just starts to bubble, but is not boiling, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Heat the butter over medium heat in a separate, heavy-bottomed pot. When the butter has just melted, add the flour and whisk constantly until the mixture turns light brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Slowly pour the warm milk, about 1 cup at a time, into the butter-flour mixture, whisking constantly. It will get very thick when you first add the milk, and thinner as you slowly pour in the entire 3 cups. This is normal.

Once all the milk has been added, set the pot back over medium-high heat, and continue to whisk constantly. In the next 2 to 3 minutes the sauce should come together and become silky and thick. Use the spoon test to make sure it’s ready (see picture, opposite). To do this, dip a metal spoon into the sauce—if the sauce coats the spoon and doesn’t slide off like milk, you’ll know it’s ready. You should be able to run your finger along the spoon and have the impression remain. Add the salt.

The Mac Sauce is ready to use immediately and does not need to cool. Store it in the fridge for a day or two if you want to make it ahead of time—it will get a lot thicker when put in the fridge, so it may need a little milk to thin it out a bit when it comes time to melt in the cheese. Try melting the cheese into the sauce first, and if it is too thick then add milk as needed.

These recipes were reprinted with permission from The Mac + Cheese Cookbook: 50 Simple Recipes from Homeroom, America’s Favorite Mac and Cheese Restaurant, by Allison Arevalo and Erin Wade, copyright 2013. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.

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