Saturday, April 01, 2017

Skillet Mac-n-Cheese

This is completely experimental for the time being. I’m recording things here to keep track of my changes as I work on the recipe. When it’s done, I’ll delete this header.

Update, July 2017: I made my first attempt at smoked Gouda mac-n-cheese. Because there would be the two of us and a very hungry Chinese teenager (the one who made it 40 days), I worked off of the proportions from the original recipe. For a creamy cheese, I used cream Havarti. The smoked Gouda was the hard cheese. And of course, I used Locatelli instead of Parmesan. I did the whole thing with one heavy skillet, toasting the creole panko first, then putting it into a bowl, then pan roasting some coarsely  cut tomato ends (which added nothing to the conversation) and putting them in a bowl before finally staring in on the pasta.

Notes:
  1. Dr. Nurse doesn’t like mac-n-cheese done with gnocchi. Too heavy. This time, I made it with Barilla Rotini, and that seems to be the way to go in the future for us.
  2. The flavors were almost where I want them to be, but the dish was not creamy enough. So pump up the smoked Gouda flavor, but make it smoother. Possibilities include switching back from the Havarti to the American or finding a way to make smoked Gouda work all on its lonesome.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I think that the flavor & texture I want here could be achieved with cream Havarti and smoked Gouda. Tonight, I did this for two people:
  • Bring
    • ½ c. water
    • ½ c. milk
  • to a boil in a small skillet.
    • Add 8 oz. Rio Bertolini gnocchi.
  • Reduce heat to medium & cook with frequent stirring until the gnocchi is floating (~10 min.).
  • Add 
    • 2 oz. shredded American cheese (block, not singles) 
    • ¼ tsp Dijon mustard
    • pinch cayenne pepper
  • and stir constantly until the cheese is melted (~1 min).
  • Off heat, stir in 
    • 2 oz shredded sharp cheddar.
  • Cover & let stand 5 minutes.
  • Stir until smooth.
  • Sprinkle with
    • Cajun panko crumbs
    • S&P
    • Locatelli Romano
  • Enjoy!


I’m basing this on the Cook’s Illustrated recipe that appears in the March/April 2017 issue. That recipe to serve 4 people is as follows:
  • Bring
    • 1½ c. water
    • 1 c. milk
  • to a boil in a small saucepan.
  • Add 8 oz. Barilla elbow macaroni.
  • Reduce heat to medium & cook with frequent stirring until the mac is al dente (6-8 min).
  • Add 
    • 4 oz. shredded American cheese (block, not singles) 
    • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
    • small pinch cayenne pepper
  • and stir constantly until the cheese is melted (~1 min).
  • Off heat, stir in 
    • 4 oz shredded sharp cheddar.
  • Cover & let stand 5 minutes.
  • Combine
    • ⅓ c. panko crumbs
    • 1 Tbsp. EVOO
    • S&P
  • in a hot skillet &
  • cook over medium heat until browned.
  • Stir in 
    • 2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese.
  • Stir Mac & Cheese until smooth.
  • Season with S&P.
  • Top with panko & Parmesan.
  • Enjoy!