Mac n Cheese Gratin

What come to your mind when we say comfort food? A bowl of something warm and easy to put together which you can have sitting in your pyjamas while binge-watching your favourite series on Netflix on your couch! Well… if this setting matches what you’re thinking, then we have the perfect dish for you – MAC N CHEESE AU GRATIN!!
You can make this in a jiffy and the best part is that this comfort dish is also worthy of being served to guests for entertaining. Its easy, can be made in advance, has the easiest ingredients and delicious! It’s an all-weather and any-time-of-the-day dish. The Americans swear by it and on our trip to the USA, we tried it at many restaurants, cafes and diners. Though the best one we tried was from the Beachers Cheese Shop at the very famous Pike Place Market in Seattle.

If you are a food enthusiast and ever happen to be in Seattle, you must visit Pike Place Market. Its literally a wonderland for those who put food above all else. While I was there, I tried this mac n cheese from the Beacher’s cheese shop where they were making fresh cheese and then fresh mac n cheese with that divine cheese. It really was the best!

Process

You literally need just home ingredients for this scrumptious dish. We’re using elbow shaped pasta, butter, milk, onions, cheese, flour and regular bread.
We have used homemade bread. If you want to try the recipe of our homemade wholewheat bread click here.

To begin, bring a pot of water to boil for the pasta. Add a teaspoon of salt to the water. Add the pasta to the water when it comes to a boil. Cook it till it is a little underdone. The rest will cook in the oven. Drain the water and keep aside.

In a saucepan take the butter on medium flame. Add the onion and garlic. Cook till it turns a little pink.

Add the flour and keep stirring. Cook the flour for 1-2 minutes. Reduce the flame to low and add the milk and stir constantly. Make sure you remove all the lumps. Increase the flame and cook stirring till a thick sauce is formed. Remove from the flame.

Add ¾ of the cheese to the sauce along with salt and pepper. Keep aside. Preheat the oven to 180C.

Take the bread in a grinder and grind it to fine coarse bread crumbs. To the bread crumbs add the remaining cheese, salt, pepper and olive oil. Mix well and keep.

Then add the boiled macaroni and basil to the white sauce and mix well.

Transfer the macaroni mixture to an oven-proof dish.

Sprinkle all the bread crumb mixture over the Mac N Cheese evenly.

Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes till it is golden and crisp on top.

Look at that beautiful golden brown and crispy layer on top. Thats a perfect gratin, which is usually a dish made in a shallow baking dish with a crusty top with either cheese or breadcrumbs, and sometimes both.

This dish actually originated in England and first appeared in a cookbook by Elizabeth Raffald in 1770, The Experienced English Housekeeper. Then it travelled to Canada with British immigrants and today its very popular in Canada as well. In fact the Canadians are the largest consumers of Macaroni and Cheese. Its arrival in the USA was however a different story. Thomas Jefferson and his chef came across it in Paris and loved it. He then imported a machine for making the macaroni pasta and even served it at a state dinner. Thats why its a dish that fits any occasion, you see! Today every country has its own version. The white sauce itself is a French recipe called the béchamel sauce and the french have their own version. This is a recipe steeped in history, culture and many cuisines.

Serve it warm! Don’t forget to tell us in the comments below if you liked the recipe and the little details of its origin.

Recipe: Mac n Cheese Gratin

Ingredients

30 gm Butter
3 tbsp Flour
3 Onions, chopped finely
8 cloves garlic, chopped finely
500 ml Milk
250 gm Elbow /Macaroni pasta
150 gm Cheese, grated
2 bread slices
3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
8-10 leaves basil, chopped
Salt
Freshly Crushed Black Pepper

Method

  1. Bring a pot of water to boil for the pasta. Add a teaspoon of salt to the water. Add the pasta to the water when it comes to a boil. Cook it till it is a little underdone. The rest will cook in the oven. Drain the water and keep aside.
  2. In a saucepan take the butter on medium flame. Add the onion and garlic. Cook till it turns a little pink. Add the flour and keep stirring. Cook the flour for 1-2 minutes. Reduce the flame to low and add the milk and stir constantly. Make sure you remove all the lumps. Increase the flame and cook stirring till a thick sauce is formed. Remove from the flame and keep aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180C. Add ¾th cheese to the sauce along with salt and pepper.
  4. Take the bread in a grinder and grind it to fine coarse bread crumbs. To the bread crumbs add the remaining cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix well and keep.
  5. To the sauce add the macaroni pasta and the basil leaves. Mix well and arrange in a baking dish. Sprinkle all the bread crumb mixture over the Mac N Cheese evenly. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes till it is golden and crisp on top. Serve immediately.

One thought on “Mac n Cheese Gratin

  1. Veda Gopala

    Love this recipe! My grandmother has a similar one in which she adds a full tablespoon of Colman’s Mustard in the bechalmel sauce. Gives it great flavour.

    Like

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