I could probably make a pretty big dent in this giant mac and cheese on my own, but it actually serves a crowd of 20-25! I find myself feeding throngs of people quite often and have recently started to write down these voluminous recipes. It’s much easier than trying to “guestimate” exactly how many pounds, cups, teaspoons you used the last time you multiplied the recipe.
I’ve never written down my macaroni and cheese recipe before because I make it like my Mom did…white sauce + whatever cheeses I need to use up in the fridge + macaroni then, bake it up. But sometimes it would turn out better than others, so I paid attention, took notes and did a little research.
Here’s what I have learned:
- Salt your pasta water liberally, seriously it needs a lot of salt. This is really the only way to flavor your macaroni noodles. Taste the water you’re going to boil your noodles in, it should taste like salty ocean water. (LOL!! I’m laughing at this one now, that Chef Anne Burrell told me my pasta wasn’t seasoned well enough on America’s Best Cook!! I guess in the heat of the moment I didn’t dump in enough salt! Glad it was good enough to get me to the next round!)
- Use lots of water, so your macaroni has room to move around and release their starches.
- Undercook the pasta by a few minutes. It will cook more when you bake it. Otherwise they’ll end up mushy.
- Your white sauce does not need to be super thick. I used to make it way too thick and then I’d be disappointed that my macaroni and cheese wasn’t gooey enough.
- Season your white sauce. I use white pepper, salt, dry mustard and Worcestershire sauce.
- Don’t heat your white sauce too hot or the cheese can separate when you add it, making it a grainy textured cheese sauce.
- I used to over-bake the macaroni and cheese and it would end up too dry. It just needs to be hot. I usually check the temperature with my instant read thermometer and make sure it’s at least 150 degrees.
Use a Super-Fancy Pan:
Lol! Using this pan certainly won’t get my Macaroni & Cheese photo onto Foodgawker, but let’s be real – when you’re going to a pot luck, block party or picnic, foil pans are just so easy! This recipe fits perfectly in this gigantic “Large Rectangular Rack Roaster (16 5/8 x 11 7/8 x 2 5/8 inch). Scott at Handi-Foil Corp. was kind enough to let me know that this pan “has a 240 fluid ounce capacity. That equates to 30 cups or 7.5 quarts.” Wowzers! So if you need to use another pan, you’ll know what size to aim for.
If you need a smaller amount of Macaroni & Cheese – this smaller version fits a half-steam tray pan and serves 10-12 people.
The Cheese Sauce:
You can really use any combination of cheeses you like. This recipe uses cheddar and American, which makes a creamy, mild Mac & Cheese that kids and adults will both like.
Assemble, Top with Crumbs & Bake!
Thanks for spending some time in the cloud with me! I hope you enjoy the recipe! Tina ( :