Thursday, December 12, 2013

Late to the Party - Modernist Mac and Cheese

Milk, Cheese, Pasta, Sodium Citrate

OK, so I'm a couple years late to this modernist cuisine party. So I decided to make a start with the famous Mac and  Cheese from Modernist Cuisine at Home. It turns out to be pretty easy and the only weird ingredient is Sodium Citrate.

Modernist Mac and Cheese
Recipe Adapted from Modernist Cuisine at Home

Yield: 4 servings
  • 212 grams Milk
  • 8.8 grams Sodium Citrate
  • 228 Grams White cheddar Cheese, grated
  • 192 Grams Dry Macaroni
Cooking Directions
  1. Bring a large pot of unsalted water to a boil and cook the macaroni according to package directions. Drain the macaroni (do not rinse) and set aside, covered.
  2. Combine the Milk and Sodium Citrate in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil, stirring continuously until the Sodium Citrate is dissolved.
  3. Add the grated cheese to the boiling milk in small handfuls, blending each with an immersion blender until melted and smooth.
  4. Fold the macaroni into the cheese mixture.
  5. Optionally, sprinkle some panko on top and slip it under the broiler to add some crunch.
  6. Serve hot.

The Pasta: Resist the urge to salt your pasta water. Good cheese will provide plenty of flavor.

The Cheese: Buy good cheese, not a block of that orange supermarket stuff. This recipe is all about the flavor of the cheese. It is perfectly reasonable to use $15 worth of Cabot Clothbound Cheddar in this recipe. I used Flory's Truckle, made in Missouri and finished in Iowa.

The Sauce: Although this recipe looks extremely accurate, you do need to pay attention. If the cheese sauce seems too thick, add a little more milk, a tablespoon or so at a time. Know that it will thicken as it cools - a lot.

Sodium Citrate: The brand I bought is listed below. 15 bucks may sound like a lot for a food additive, but it comes to about 29¢ per batch.And there's other stuff you can use it for...

The Book: You could buy Modernist Cuisine at Home, but if you have an iOS device you can also get the "inkling" eBook version and only buy the chapters you want for $4.99 each ($79.99 for the whole thing.) The eBook is not only cheaper, it also has a number of features that make it worth while including a shopping list builder and a built in "scaler" that adjusts ingredient quantities so you can make the recipe for any number of servings.

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