Monday, July 15, 2013

Me vs Myself: A Mac & Cheese Competition

My awesome friend hosted a get-together at her house this weekend, where she hosted a rib competition and a mac & cheese competition. It was going to be my partner & me competing against each other for the mac & cheese competition, but I ended up making both of our recipes for the competition, so it was literally a win-win for me. I made two delectable recipes: a truffle cheddar mac and a beer & gruyere mac (yes, I did choose the ingredients based on the fact that they rhymed). The beer & gruyere won the competition, but I'll let you choose what you think is the tastiest! I hope you enjoy.



Truffle Cheddar Mac & Cheese

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes (overlaps with prep time)

Ingredients
One (1) cup of elbow macaroni
One (1) cup of white sharp cheddar, shredded -- I used Cabot, which is an awesome company & makes the most delicious cheese
One (1) tablespoon of unsalted butter
One (1) tablespoon of all-purpose flour
1/2 egg, beaten -- Don't worry, you'll use the other half in the next recipe
1 1/2 tablespoons of white truffle oil -- This stuff is expensive, but totally worth it. You don't need to use a lot and there are so many foods to make with it. Keep an eye out for future truffle recipes!
One (1) cup of milk -- I used almond milk
1/4 teaspoon of dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon of paprika
Black pepper to taste

Directions
Cook macaroni according to package.
While macaroni is boiling, melt butter over medium heat in a separate pan (I used a wok).
Spoon in the flour and mix with butter to create a roux (or technically, until it is all mixed together and there is no dry flour left).
Pour in the milk, one tablespoon of the truffle oil, mustard, and paprika and continue to stir. 


Take a tablespoon of this warm milk mixture and mix it into the beaten egg. Then, pour the egg into the pan. (Mixing it in first helps the egg adjust to the temp and it won't cook when it's poured in.)
Slowly toss the cheese in and stir continuously. Turn the temp down while you stir.
Drain the macaroni and spoon into a bowl or casserole dish.
Pour the cheesy mixture over the macaroni and mix thoroughly.
Drizzle the remaining truffle oil over the mac & cheese before serving.

Beer and Gruyere Mac & Cheese

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes (overlaps with prep time)

Ingredients
Two (2) cups of shell pasta
Two (2) tablespoons of butter
Two (2) tablespoons of flour
One (1) cup of milk -- I used almond milk
Eight (8) ounces of beer -- I used Shiner Bock, because Bock beer is often paired with gruyere cheese
Eight (8) ounces of smoked gruyere cheese, shredded
Four (4) ounces of white cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 teaspoon of smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon of dry mustard
Black pepper to taste

Directions
Preheat oven to 375F degrees.
Cook pasta
as directed on the box, leaving it al dente, as it will cook more in the oven later.
While pasta is cooking, melt butter in pan on medium heat.

Look at this cheesy goodness!
Once the butter is melted, whisk in flour and cook to create a roux (as you did in the previous recipe).
Add beer and milk into the pan, continuously stirring. Then, add the cheese (except a small handful).
Take a tablespoon of this warm milk mixture and mix it into the beaten egg. Then, pour the egg into the pan.
Continue to stir on a lower heat setting for about five minutes.
Add the paprika, mustard and pepper to the sauce.
Once the noodles are done, add the noodles and sauce to a casserole dish.
Top with remaining cheese.
Bake for 15 minutes, and then broil (at 500F degrees) for five minutes.
Remove and let cool before serving.

Enjoy!