Macaroni and Cheese proportions

I’ve been making Macaroni and Cheese to roughly the same recipe of my mom’s since high school, and the result have been inconsistent. I tried making a creamier and less caserole-y version for Nadia compared to my usual-of-late proportions, and I thought I’d record it here.

I realized I had recorded one set of proportions here in the past and it looks like the proportions are almost exactly doubled:

  • 3 1/2 cups shredded cheese, plus extra for crust for baked portion (mixing some in and then crust) – inexact as was using the ends of multiple pregrated sharp cheddar; about a cup was jack
  • 2 1/2 cups milk, preheat to hot in the microwave
  • Roux: 4 tbsp each butter and flour; mix together over low heat until a paste forms
  • Add black pepper (one turn of pepper grinder) and MSG (1/2 tsp) to taste
  • Add milk slowly, no faster than will mix in thoroughly with a flat-bottom whisk; this seems to be the main trick, as adding too much milk at once will lead to the roux clumping together
  • When all of the milk is added, add 1tsp sodium citrate (optional, but makes for a smoother texture) and stir in evenly
  • Add cheese slowly stirring, until thoroughly melted
  • Cook pasta. This was 3 heaping cups of cellentani (ridged, corkscrew macaroni which ends up a bit less dense), a bit more than 3/4 of a box. I think for shells or smaller elbows 3 cups might be a bit much
  • Drain pasta, put in a 8×8 or 9×9 glass baking tray
  • mix in some extra cheese, cover top loosely with extra cheese
  • Bake at 375f (coincidental; we’d had a take-and-bake bread in while the pasta was cooking), checking after 20 minutes, until cheese on top just starts to brown.
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