Let me talk smack for a second: I am demolishing FZ in our nike challenge to run 100 miles by new years, with a score of ~ 67 to 0. Five of those 67 came today, suckahs, so in the cold Illinois evening I needed me some mac n cheese:
Two words sum up why this mac n cheese is slightly above the average goodness of mac n cheese recipes I've tried: CHICKEN BROTH. That's right, I put chicken broth in the sauce. That makes the flavor a lot bolder than it could hope to be otherwise. Also, props to me for not burning my roux for the second time ever. First time was on thanksgiving, so it seems like I'm on a streak! [Of two.] One practical guideline I've learned from watching Top Chef is that even really, really good chefs often under season their food, and I've used that observation to motivate me to add extra seasoning--especially salt-- especially especially in dishes I'm comfortable with (e.g., mac n cheese). I put quite a lot of salt in here, which I think in addition to the chicken broth saved the dish from being just a bunch of bland ass cheese.
I'm starting to think that a really good mac n cheese might be harder to make than I had previously imagined. At a superficial level, all that is needed for a good mac n cheese is cheese and warmth, but I've tried a lot of mac n cheese recipes now and never really found one that I liked, or could begin to compare with the mac n cheese at redbones. Maybe I will have to work it like I did my chocolate chip cookie recipe, and make mac n cheese like 3 times a week until I get it right. Haha my arteries would be like little cheese stuffed mannicotti!
If I did this recipe again, I think I would want more onion, some bacon, and maybe a slightly higher ratio of pasta to cheese sauce. I also will try to actually use elbow pasta, as I think the reason my pasta:cheese sauce ratio is too low is that three cups of uncooked rigatoni ends up being less pasta than three cups of uncooked elbows would be, since the big hole in the middle of the rigatoni takes up a lot of the volume in the measuring cup.
Oh man, some bacon would be so good in here right now! Why did the chumps that wrote this recipe not put bacon in it???