WHAT IS THREE CHEESE MAC?
It is the adult version of a classic children’s recipe. However this recipe isn’t for kids. Traditional macaroni & cheese is one of those dishes that has jumped the shark. Long co-opted by the packaged food world, this delectable comfort food has become synonymous with children’s fare–and palates. In recent years, that’s been remedied. Upper scale eateries have put their own upscale versions of macaroni and cheese on the menu. These versions feature everything from truffles to prosciutto to lobster to saffron. As wonderful as that all is, we believe you’ve got nothing if you don’t have a strong foundation upon which to build flavors–and then add anything you like to give it your own twist.
SUGGESTIONS FOR MAKING THREE CHEESE MAC
- Choose your cheeses: Creamy, Sharp, Buttery
For our macaroni and cheese, we use a bit of an unusual mix. No simple cheddar, American cheese or parmesan for us. Instead we use a combination of equal parts Havarti, Mimolette, and Beaufort. Havarti gives a superior level of creaminess. Mimolette is the choice for it’s deep saffron hue and the buttery, sweet flavor. Mimolette is an extremely hard cheese and the best way to use it is grated. Last but not least, Beaufort has a flavor similar to more complex Swiss cheeses, and adds that slight zing of sharpness that makes Macaroni & Cheese delectable.
- Any Old Macaroni Won’t Do!
When it comes to Macaroni & Cheese the macaroni can’t be a second thought. Any old macaroni won’t do. We prefer good quality Italian made macaroni like Pastificio Cuomo or some other Gragnano pastas. Better quality pastas in general tend to have a higher protein content. This is important because, cooked correctly, your pasta’s less likely to become sodden and fall apart. Remember: Your Mac and Cheese has to be cooked twice–boiled first then baked.
WHAT PAIRS WELL WITH THREE CHEESE MAC?
So the classic pairings in many parts of the states would be buffalo wings, fried pickles, barbecued meat or, weirdly enough, overcooked green beans. Mac and cheese is often served as a side dish instead of the main course. However that doesn’t mean you can’t introduce some complementary foods that are not also heavily laden in fat or grease. Hmm, triple negative in that last sentence there, not too shabby as poor writing goes! Anyway, any vegetables that aren’t overcooked, a vertically roasted chicken (a lot of the fat drips out that way but if brined previously the bird is still juicy) or soup could all be healthy and work well. In terms of wine, crisp white wines like Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, or a Lambruso can work. For red wines try a Pinot Noir or Grenache. (written by Chef Stef)