From its humble beginnings in Italy, Mac and Cheese has long taken over North American kitchens; but far from being just a ‘Kraft dinner’ staple, the humble Mac and Cheese has now taken on a new life and reaches every further into the gourmet aisle.
This week Jonathan, Darren and William explore what it really takes to make a good Mac and Cheese, as ever stripping it back to the basics that you need to know to make this Canadian staple part of your regular cooking repertoire.
Saffron Mac and Cheese:
8 ounces (about 2 cups) elbow macaroni or any pasta of your choice
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads (crushed and steeped in 2 tablespoons hot water)
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Gruyère cheese (or any other melting cheese you prefer)
Salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard (optional)
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (for topping, optional)
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
Cook the Pasta:
Cook the pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
Prepare the Saffron:
Crush the saffron threads and steep them in 2 tablespoons of hot water. Set aside.
Make the Cheese Sauce:
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
Stir in the flour to create a roux. Cook for a minute or two until it's lightly golden.
Gradually whisk in the milk, stirring constantly to avoid lumps.
Add the saffron-infused water, shredded cheddar, and Gruyère cheese. Continue to stir until the cheese is fully melted and the sauce is smooth.
If desired, add Dijon mustard for extra flavor. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
Combine Pasta and Cheese Sauce:
Add the cooked pasta to the cheese sauce, stirring until the pasta is well coated.
If you like a crunchy topping, transfer the mac and cheese to a baking dish, sprinkle breadcrumbs on top, and broil until golden brown.
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