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Mac and Cheese Refined
November 2010

Cheeses:

Macaroni and cheese is best when the cheese sauce is made with a combination of fromage. Pick 3-5 of the following cheeses, mix them together and melt – along with butter, flour and milk - in a sauce pan to create a custom gourmet macaroni and cheese sauce.
You’re guaranteed to have a deliciously unique and creamy experience!

Soft cheeses: (pick one)
Ile de France Brie and Camembert, Ile de France Goat Cheese

Hard cheese: (pick 1-3)
Emmental, Comté, Fol Epi, Raclette, Etorki, Doux de Monagne
Blues: (pick 0-1)
Roquefort, Bleu d’ Auverge, St. Agur

Turn a classic, simple and delicious dish into a delightfully gourmet delight! Few dishes are as universally loved as macaroni and cheese. While everyone has enjoyed mac and cheese, it’s safe to say not everyone has savored the true flavor potential of the dish. Macaroni and cheese is often made from a boxed mix from the grocery store, but making it from scratch is surprisingly easy – and infinitely more flavorful. And simply adding some fine fromage unlocks an amazing amount of flavor. The process is easy. All that is required to make mac and cheese is boiling some pasta, melting a cheese sauce, mixing the sauce and pasta together and baking.

Of course, the flavors are in the details. Here’s how to get the most out of your mac and cheese:

The cheeses:
Gourmet Macaroni and Cheese, depends, of course, on the cheese and cheese sauce. Grating or cubing cheese prior to melting is important, as cheeses that come in block form retain more flavor than pre-shredded varieties One of the secrets to making gourmet mac and cheese is using a few different kinds of cheeses. Three, four or even five varieties of cheeses - mixed together, melted and combined into a creamy sauce - makes an incredibly in-depth harmony of flavors. Virtually any combination of cheeses can be concocted, as long as they all melt. Distinctive character and just the right balance of flavor and creaminess can be created with any number of combinations. See side bar for suggestions.

The pasta:
Pasta with a firm texture works best with macaroni and cheese. Rotini, ziti, shells, or penne will all work, but little elbows are perfect. Little elbow style pasta fills up with sauce easily, providing a creamy texture to the dish and an excellent ratio of cheese to sauce and pasta. Try Barilla’s twisted elbow macaroni - the individual pasta pieces are known to hold creamy sauces especially well.
Since the best macaroni and cheese recipes call for a stint in the oven to bake, it’s important to undercook the pasta. That’s because once the pasta and sauce is mixed together and put in the oven the pasta will continue to cook - and could end up mushy if overdone.
The best bet is to remove the pasta from the boiling water while it still has a slight crunch– it will finish softening while it bakes.

The customization:
For creative cooks, macaroni and cheese is perfect for experimentation. Everything from ground beef to hot peppers can easily be added to mac and cheese to top off a recipe.

The only limit to the cheeses that can be used is your imagination (provided the cheeses can melt, of course). Macaroni and cheese can be served as a main course, side dish or snack. It’s a great dish for aspiring cooks to master, since there’s always an opportunity to savor the luxurious cheesiness.



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