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Recipe: Silky Smooth Modernist Cheese Sauce for Perfect Mac & Cheese and Cauliflower Cheese

How do you like your mac and cheese or cauliflower cheese? No doubt you have your hidden secrets, your favourite cheese combinations (cheddar, provolone and parmesan work a treat, as one chef revealed recently to me), your personal twists (a little pickled jalapeno chopped and lingering like a tiny battleship), your many little ways of making your perfect cheese sauce. But do you ever get enough of that cheese hit? Even with all of that cheese?

I make my sauce really thin with the smallest amount of roux possible (roux? a combination of flour and butter used to thicken sauces). Even so, I sometimes can feel the flour lingering below the surface, a little scratchy, and as a result, I end up with a sauce that is not as velvet rich as I would like it to be. The flavour of the cheese often feels muted too. Making it as cheesy as I would like involves a lot of cheese, and that can be a little too thick. What I want in my mac and cheese is a sauce that is pure cheese, but with a perfectly smooth delicate texture. Simply melting the cheese won’t deliver this, as the cheese congeals as the fat and the water separate at high temperatures. Luckily, someone has worked out how to fix this, and that is what I am going to share with you.

Lots of American recipes for queso dip and perfect smooth cheese sauces use velveeta, a processed cheese with a smooth melting consistency. In principle, this is great, but I want to use real cheese, I think most of us do. I want the the best flavours made with real ingredients, but proper cheese won’t melt as velveeta does. (The same goes for happy slappy cheese, those cheap processed cheese slices favoured for burgers as they melt just right, in the same way as velveeta does).

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