Below, I'll go into the recipe for a basic mac & cheese using this technique and then a few ways you can "dress it up" with other ingredients. But I have to stress that mac & cheese is a basic canvas. Get creative and try whatever you want! If you're trying to keep carbs in line, don't have this more than once a week, and consider one of the high-fiber, high-protein pastas that have a lower glycemic index.
- 2 tbsp canola or peanut oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- 3 cups water
- 2 cups pasta (more if it's a large shell or the like)
- 1 cup cheddar or other flavorful cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup cream cheese cut into small cubes
- salt & pepper to taste
The roux forms pretty much automatically when the starch from the pasta, the oil in the pan and the oil in the cheese mix. No muss, no fuss!
Variant: Spicy Bacon Mac & Cheese
As above, but:
- 1 tbsp dried red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup or more coarsely chopped, cooked bacon strips
Variant: Morel Mac & Cheese
This is similar to my favorite risotto where I mix in dried morels. They lose much of their flavor to the water, so you want to cook that water into whatever you do! Here, it becomes both part of the pasta and the sauce!
- 1/2 cup dried morels, chopped into small chunks
- 1/4 cup extra water