One of my favorite comfort foods is Macaroni and cheese…but it’s also one of my more sophisticated foods too. Because you can use some many different cheeses and “extras” in mac ‘n cheese, you can really mold the dish in different ways. In this recipe video, I show you how to make the dish a bit more “elegant” with the addition of blue cheese and apples. I actually took this dish from a restaurant in San Francisco named Solstice, which puts a different spin on the classic, but makes it just as tasty.
Recipe Overview and Keys to Success
For all baked mac ‘n cheese recipes there are a few things you need to be careful of; and for this version in particular, you need to be a bit careful with the cheese.
- I like to take my pasta out of the water on the early side of Al Dente. Because you are going to mix it with the cheese sauce, and bake it in the oven, the pasta will keep cooking – and you don’t want over cooked pasta.
- Like just about all pasta dishes, the starch in the pasta will continue to thicken the sauce. So…use more sauce than you might think, knowing it will thicken as it cooks. This prevents drying out.
- Blue cheese is a strong cheese, with a pungent flavor and aroma. And while I love it, I think it’s possible to over do it with this dish. That’s why I like to add and taste as I go. Add the cheese and let it melt in a couple rounds, so that you can adjust the amount to your liking.
Ingredients for Mac and Cheese
- 3 – 4 tablespoons of flour
- 3 – 4 tablespoons of butter
- 3 – 4 cups of milk or cream
- Quarter pound elbow macaroni
- 4 - 6 ounces of blue cheese
- One apple
- 2 Tablespoons of parmesan
Making the Bechamel Sauce
- You can watch a recipe video that shows how to make a bechamel sauce
- In a sauce pan, melt the butter, then add the flour to make a roux
- Stir the roux over low heat for 5 – 10 minutes
- Slowly add the milk, stirring as you go. The roux will immediately thicken, but as you add milk, it will thin out, until it begins to boil
- Once boiling, you can adjust the thickness of the sauce by adding more milk. You’re looking for a syrup like consistency.
Making the Mac ‘n Cheese
- For the apple garnish, dice an apple into small pieces and place in a bowl. Squeeze a bit of lemon juice over the apples and toss to coat; that will prevent them from turning brown
- As you make the béchamel, cook off your elbow macaroni until just al dente, and drain it well
- While cooking the pasta, finish your blue cheese sauce by adding the cheese into the hot béchamel and melting. Before you add the last couple ounces, taste the sauce. You can then decide to add more or not
- Add the cooked pasta, and toss in the sauce thoroughly.
- Season with salt and pepper & stir to combine
- Take a final look at the thickness. It should seem fairly soupy, if not, add some more milk
- Pour the macaroni and cheese into a greased baking dish, or as I do, a small oven proof bowl
- Top with a thin layer of breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese
- Put the baking dish into a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until the top is browned
- Remove from the oven, and let it rest for a couple minutes. Top with the diced apple and serve
How you enjoy this new sping on Mac 'n cheese. Leave me a comment and let me know how it goes.