So, part of what we do here at Ramshackle Pantry is to try to find the essence of a dish and try to make the perfect version of that dish. A version that respects the history of the item and brings us closer to great food. I have spent the past several weeks looking at Macaroni and Cheese and today WOULD be the post where we make a new recipe with all of our newfound knowledge and experience. Things changed.
Simple can be better
The first recipe we made was great. I don’t think it needs to change at all. It embodies the essence of the dish and tastes really good. If I have learned anything while investigating macaroni and cheese it is that I should be a little more cognizant of individual ingredients. Even ingredients as simple as macaroni can make a difference. I did a taste test of different macaroni’s and while the differences were not stark, they definitely were there.
I learned that pre-shredded cheese has more ingredients than block cheese. What? Yeah. Shredded cheese has mold inhibitor and ingredients to keep the shreds from sticking. It seems weird that a cheese might have ingredients that are not cheese, doesn’t it?
Originally, I thought that I was going to try and make a fresh pasta for macaroni and cheese, but then I learned that macaroni isn’t made to be fresh. Extruded pasta is best when dry. Fresh pasta definitely has its place, but it really is it’s own thing and meant for certain types of dishes. Both fresh and dry pasta are great and sometimes either should be used.
Great Variation Recipes
I really had a fun time making my pear gouda mac and cheese, the bleu cheese and sriracha, and my taco mac recipes. These were all great flavors that made this deep dive particularly fun. After making all of these mac and cheese recipes, I feel that my bechamel and mornay sauce making is ON POINT. Additionally, I did learn that Cheez-its make for a great bread crumb substitute for mac and cheese.
As a summary, make mac and cheese the way that you like. Try to think about your ingredients a bit to help make a better product. I have really enjoyed this exploration of macaroni and cheese and wish I could finish off this deep dive with an even better recipe, but I cannot. This mac and cheese, probably pretty close to the one your grandma made, is pretty perfect.
Finally, check out this podcast with my friends over at FoodBloggerPro. Yours truly was interviewed!