As many folks know, one of the scourges of my culinary existence is the roux. I don’t know why, but I developed total Roux block in culinary school (even resorting to sneaking in cornstarch in my pocket to thicken sauces with my trusty slurry.. I am not proud, I was desperate.)
It has long been my secret shame (or not-so-secret) that Keri can’t thicken using a roux.
Screw it – I wanted to make The Hub some really good mac and cheese to have in the fridge while I am in Indy, and, bolstered by REPEATED viewing of the TiVo’ed lobster mac and cheese episode of The Barefoot Contessa (and two and a half glasses of vhino verde consumed in a hot bath,) I decided to give it one last go.
And praise Ina and the positive Roux-making vibes sent from my dear friend from New Orleans (who, of course, can work a roux like no body’s business) – IT WORKED.. check it out:
Mise en place (Chef Jack Ass from school would be so proud) -flour measured, butter heating in big pot, milk warmed in small saucepan, cheese grated.
Flour and Butter cooking out that “floury” taste in the pan…
After all the hot milk was added to the pan, it actually reached “nape” consistency.. I kind of stood in awe that it was thickened.
Anyway, after the shock of the roux success (sorry if I woke you running around the house whooping about it, honey,) I proceeded with a version of Ina’s Mac and Cheese recipe– she uses the same basic recipe over and over, but varies the cheese and adds other things as desired. For mine I halved the recipe, so I used 3 cups of sharp cheddar cheese and 1 cup of mild cheddar which I mixed into the Bechamel Sauce I created (yeah, that roux/milk mix is one of the “Mother Sauces” of french cooking.. so you see how the not-being-able-to-roux thing might have been a prob for me in school? M’Kay).
Here is what it looked like all incorporated:
And then I added the cooked elbow pasta: