Mac n’ cheese (aka macaroni and cheese) has been around since the 1930’s and I grew up with it; both the boxed version and homemade. The afternoon my daughter was born I ate a whole box for lunch…no wonder she likes it. It’s been years since consuming the all-too-orangey-looking commercial stuff. I prefer making my own mac n’ cheese loaded with my choice of cheeses. It’s the creamy sauce I find irresistible. Sometimes I get a bit restless when cooking and like to change it up a bit. Instead of using elbow macaroni, use a different pasta. Even this made me wonder how to make a classic dish better? The answer was inside the refrigerator.
A selection of cheeses needed attention and the easiest solution was to make a cheese sauce. I also had a package of gnocchi waiting to be used.
- 4 cups milk
- 5 cups of assorted cheese grated (old cheddar, blue, Parmesan, brie)
- ½ cup butter
- 6 tablespoons flour
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- Preheat oven to 400°f.
- In a large pot over medium-low heat, melt butter. Sprinkle flour over butter, whisking to incorporate and make a roux. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until roux is light golden (about 3 to 4 minutes). Gradually pour in milk, whisking constantly to incorporate and make a béchamel sauce. Turn up the heat to medium-high and bring sauce to a low boil, whisking constantly. Reduce to a simmer, whisking occasionally, and cook until béchamel sauce is thick and coats the back of a spoon (roughly 3 minutes). Add the cheeses in two or three batches, whisking until each addition is completely melted before adding more. Remove from heat and stir in Worcestershire sauce and garlic.
- Cook gnocchi according to packet instructions. Drain and add to cheese sauce. Stir to combine. Place gnocchi in an oven-proof dish or individual dishes. Bake in oven 15 minutes or until bubbling. Remove from oven and serve.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: The cheese sauce can be altered to suit your own taste – more cheddar and less Parmesan. Add more milk if the sauce gets too thick. Just remember that the cooking time in the oven will also help thicken up the sauce. Enjoy!