Nacho Macaroni & CheeseDec 13th, 2011 | By Peter Minakis | Category: Canadiana, Cheese, Dairy, Featured, Herbs, Main, Onions, Pasta, Recipes, Spices, Vegetarian
A couple of weeks ago I did a cooking demo at Toronto’s Harbourfront. No stranger to crowds, cooking in front of strangers didn’t present a problem and besides..I was doing what I love – sharing good, comforting food. When I was asked to conduct some cooking demos the prerequisite was that I showcase comforting dishes that are easy to prepare and ready within the 20-minute time slot alloted for the sessions.
I came up with ‘Nacho’ macaroni & cheese and discovering that making your own cheese sauce for macaroni tasted and looked similar to the cheese sauce that one gets in a jar or served with nachos at Tex/Mex eateries. I used elbow macaroni as they are hollow and I would recommend using a similar hollow pasta so that cheezy sauce can get in the pasta too!
Macaroni & cheese is an easy dish that starts out with making a roux with butter and flour then whisking in some warm milk until it thickens then the grated cheeses are added. I used two cheeses here: grated Parmesan and an aged white cheddar cheese. The better the cheese, the more flavour you’ll get without having to use excessive amounts of cheese.
There’s some sweet paprika, a pinch of chilli powder and dried oregano to give the dish that “nacho” flavour. Once the grated cheese melts into the béchamel stage of the sauce, your mac n’ cheese is ready. Just toss the cooked pasta, add some oregano and a pinch of chilli flakes and Nacho Macaroni & Cheese is done. For that extra Tex/Mex flavour and texture, I crush some nacho corn chips on top!
This weekend I’ll be at Harbourfront cooking on both Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 & 3:30 pm at the Lakeside Eats Cafe. There’s a skating rink out front, skate rentals and a fantastic view of Toronto’s lakefront. Drop by and see what I’ll cook next!
Nacho Macaroni & Cheese
2 1/2 cups of elbow macaroni
3 Tbsp. of unsalted butter
2 heaping Tbsp. of flour
1 small onion, finely diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp. sweet paprika
pinch of chilli powder
2 cups of whole milk (warm)
1 cup of heavy cream
1 cup grated white cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
fresh ground pepper and sea salt to taste
pinch of chilli flakes
½ tsp. dried Greek oregano
1/2 cup crushed nacho chips
- Place a large pot of water on your stove-top and bring to a boil. Add a good amount of salt and add pasta and cool for 8 minutes. In the meantime, add your butter to a large pot over medium heat. Once the butter had melted, add the onions, garlic, chilli powder and paprika and stir. Sweat for 5 minutes or until softened. Now add the flour and stir for a minute. Now add your milk in increments while stirring and turn the heat up to medium-high. Add the cream while stirring and continue to stir until the sauce has thickened enough to just coat a wooden spoon. Add your grated cheeses and stir in until melted. Adjust seasoning with fresh ground pepper, chilli flakes and some oregano (salt if needed).
- Once your pasta is cooked, strain and add into your sauce along with oregano, and chilli flakes. Gently toss with a slotted spoon or spatula and divide and plate with a topping of crushed nacho chips.
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© 2011, Peter Minakis. All rights reserved. If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://kalofagas.ca then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at truenorth67 AT gmail DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author.