I love mac cheese, it’s so fast and simple to make – so I decided to use Emmental cheese to make Emmental Mac Cheese today as I bought some packs of sliced Emmental the other day and still had two slices that needed using up. This Emmental mac cheese was cooked entirely in the microwave, in under 10 minutes, using just a few ingredients and cooked in a large mug for the cheese sauce and a microwave safe dish for the macaroni.
I don’t weigh out my ingredients, I do it all by eye – so, to write this recipe down I did actually weigh the ingredients, just to be precise!
Emmental is a yellow, medium-hard Swiss cheese with a savory, but mild, taste and it has small holes in it, a little larger than a paper punch would make. I used the Lidl Emmental slices I bought the other week, which have 11 slices in a 350 gram pack. They’re a good size for when I cook cheeseburgers I find! Each slice is ~32 grams.
Makes: One Serving
The starting weight of 70 grams of dry macaroni became 180 grams once cooked – and the cheese sauce weighed 120 grams.
This Emmental Mac Cheese recipe made a 300 gram main meal. That is the equivalent size of, say, a Basics Macaroni Cheese from Sainsburys (300 grams), or about the size of the Kraft Macaroni Cheese ready meals (330 grams). It’s easy enough to increase this recipe – most of it is “by eye” as it depends on how much you think you can eat 🙂
- 70 grams dry macaroni, elbow pasta – I use a small size that I buy at Sainsburys
- 2-3 slices of Emmental cheese, I only had two today, three would’ve been cheesier (60-100 grams)
- 8 grams of butter (that’s about a flat teaspoon) – on this occasion I used some “Best for baking” fat from Asda (I just use what I’ve got that needs to be used)
- 4 grams of flour (that’s about a teaspoon; I used plain flour)
- 70 grams/70 ml of full fat milk (you can use any milk, I always use full fat milk).
- A tiny sprinkle of oil (optional), salt (optional)
- Put the dry macaroni into a good sized microwave safe bowl. In the past I’ve bought a couple of “steam fresh” frozen microwave meals and use the containers from those that I kept – I find they’re good for cooking pasta in; what you’re looking for is a dish that will enable the pasta to spread out, rather than being deep. Add a tiny splash of oil if you wish, to prevent the macaroni from sticking and a little sprinkling of salt. Cover the macaroni with boiling water, so the water is about ½cm above the macaroni level. Microwave on full power for a total of 5 minutes, stirring/checking and topping up the water every minute.
- I wasn’t making a lot of cheese sauce, so I made the cheese sauce in a mug. Put the teaspoon of butter (or margarine) in a microwave safe jug and microwave it for 30-40 seconds on full power until it’s melted.
- Add the flour (about a teaspoon) to the melted butter and use a fork to just “agitate” them together at the bottom of the mug. Start to add milk, a little at a time, further agitating the mix so it is smooth and lump free.
- Microwave the white roux sauce for 30 seconds, then agitate it again with a fork so it’s smooth – adding more milk so it thins down. Keep adding milk and mixing the sauce, microwaving for another 30 seconds if you think it will help to keep the sauce moving. You’re looking for a consistency that’s close to a good sauce and where the quantity looks “about right” by eye for how much sauce you wish to end up with. 50-60ml/50-60 grams (I weighed my milk before and after) should be about what you’re heading for.
- Microwave the sauce in 30 second blasts for 1½-2 minutes, stirring it every 30 seconds and adding a little more milk if you think it needs it.
- Tear up the cheese slices and stir them into the mug of sauce. Microwave the cheese sauce for 1 minute, checking/stirring after 30 seconds. What you’re now looking for is enough sauce and for the sauce to be thick enough for your tastes. If you want it thinner, add a little milk; if you want it thicker then either add more cheese or microwave it a little longer.
- Once the cheese has melted and you have a cheese sauce, pour it over the drained macaroni and stir the two together.
Now eat it, while it’s still hot!
I usually add a little brown sauce to a mac cheese – but that’s optional.
I make tons of macaroni cheese quick meals across a year, each one’s a little different, or cooked in a different dish, it all depends on how I feel and which dishes are washed up and available 🙂
To Freeze Macaroni Cheese with Cheese Sauce
If you have leftovers, or want to cook ahead, then, once made, this Emmental mac cheese will keep in an airtight dish for 2-3 days in the fridge, or you can box it up and freeze it. Defrost frozen mac cheese either overnight in the fridge, or by using the microwave to defrost it before you turn it up to full for 2-3 minutes until it’s piping hot. Give it a good stir every 30 seconds to ensure it’s all hot – there’s nothing in the recipe that becomes “unsafe” in any way, so you’re not going to have problems with that!
Here are some previous mac cheese alternatives I’ve made on a whim by similar recipes/methods:
Once you’ve cooked a pasta, made a white sauce, turned that into a cheese sauce, that’s pretty much it. How much you cook, how thick and cheesy the sauce is, will depend on how it looks as you’re cooking it and how you like it.
If I am going to put more cheese on top and grill it to brown the top, then I’d most likely make the sauce thicker and cheesier, more of a mid winter “comfort food”. The recipe here is simply a quick mac cheese cooked in the microwave oven.