You’ve been making mac ’n’ cheese wrong – chefs say it’s all about the toppings

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Macaroni cheese is a simple and tasty meal which kids will love, but it’s even better when you make it from scratch.

Throw away those packet mixes and take a shot at whipping up some homemade mac ’n’ cheese – we promise it won’t disappoint.

In fact, your kids might demand it for every dinner now…

The best thing about macaroni cheese is that it’s super versatile – throw in some broccoli and spinach and serve it as a main or, keep it simple and make it a side dish.

The Daily Star spoke to three top chefs to find out their top tips for making mac’n’ cheese.

For the macaroni

Ben Tish, head chef of Norma and The Stafford said: “For extra flavour cook the macaroni risotto style.

“Sweat shallots in butter and olive oil, add pasta and then cook gradually in a rich chicken stock adding and stirring as you go until just al dente and very rich.

“The cheese sauce is key – you can't skimp.”

And Francesco Mazzei said: “The thing most people forget when boiling water in general, is to salt it.

“It is important to add plenty of salt to your pot of boiling water to ensure your pasta is well seasoned.”

For the cheese sauce

Ben explained: “Make a classic roux thickened white sauce and then stir either double cream or creme fraiche into it for richness along with some Dijon mustard.

“Cheese is subjective but I always add parmesan for umami, mozzarella for the gooeyness and then another – perhaps a blue cheese or even a truffle pecorino.”

Vickie Rogerson co-founder of Homage2Fromage, added: “Using great quality, punchy cheddar cheese is essential.

“This is NOT the time to dig out a dry bit of supermarket mild cheddar from the back of your fridge!

“I use a 60/40 mix of Cheddar – something like a Quickes or Lincolnshire Poacher Vintage cheddar alongside a Red Leicester."

She continued: “And, season your sauce – I use ground black pepper, nutmeg and a pinch of smoked paprika.

“Some people use mustard which works well too.”

Francesco added: “One thing they can also easily do wrong is undercook their mac ’n’ cheese.

“Personally, one of my favourite things is a crispy top with a gooey interior.

“Use a Tubettini pasta and also use mozzarella as it makes your macaroni cheese stretchy and gooey.”


Ben added: “Top the mac and cheese with panko bread crumbs and more grated parmesan before baking until crisp.”

Vickie suggested: “The joy of a mac ’n’ cheese is the toppings.

“Mix in chopped cooked bacon, chorizo or ham to the sauce or top with breadcrumbs.

“Always top your mac and cheese with extra cheese and grill it so it's brown and bubbling.”

While Tom Westerland, head chef at Crockers Henley, said: “My mum is a massive influence within my cooking and kitchen.

“Still to this day she makes a fantastic mac and cheese and – being Welsh – tops it with jammy slow-cooked leeks.

“We add truffle to the sauce and then top the whole thing off with a crispy cheddar crumb and some fresh chives.”

We can't wait to try these tips and find out the best recipe for us!

  • Food
  • Cooking

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