A Roux in the ‘Wave! (and basic white sauce)

13MacCheeseStirPotbfLORich really likes a nice pot of mac and cheese on occasion, and I am always in search of that One. Perfect. Recipe. This one is close – I played a bit fast and loose with my cheese selection and it came back to bite me, but more about that later; this post is all about making a roux in the ‘wave!

I know, I doubted too, but it works, and it works well, unless mebbe you’re out to make a brown roux, in which case you should probably just stick to your trusty cast iron pan and leave the high tech for another day.

•5 tbsp butter, sliced
•4 tbsp flour
•1 cup whole milk
•1 cup heavy cream

Place the butter slices and the flour in a large, ‘wave-safe bowl; an 8 cup Pyrex measuring bowl works a treat.

05RouxButterFlourWHisk01bfLOPop the butter and flour into the ‘wave and hit 60 seconds.

Remove from the ‘wave and give it a good whisk – the butter will still be a bit chunky.

Back into the ‘wave for another 60 seconds, then remove and whisk again – the butter will be completely melted and the mixture will be bright, golden yellow.

07RouxStirbfLOStir the whole milk together with the heavy cream and add to the butter and flour mixture slowly, whisking all the while.

Back into the ‘wave for 60 seconds, then remove and whisk – I also added 1/4 tsp Tabasco Chipotle sauce at this point because, Tabasco.

08RouxReadybfLOBack to the ‘wave – 60 seconds at a time and removing from the wave and whisking after each – until the sauce becomes rich and creamy – it should take between 4 to 6 minutes total once you’ve added the milk and cream mixture.

Note the sides of the bowl in these two images and you can see the transformation from milk, cream, butter, and flour into a perfectly fine basic white sauce ready to become whatever you may have planned.

01MacDrainedColanderAltbfLOI had planned macaroni and cheese, and had found a recipe that was based on Panerra’s, one of Rich’s current favorites. I’ve tried Fanny Farmer’s Classic recipe, and a baked casserole option offered up by Guy Fieri, and both were good, but they just didn’t have the ooey, gooey, cheesy creaminess that Rich likes in a mac and cheese that wasn’t begun with that blue box.

So, we’ve made the roux and now have a fine white sauce (from the ‘wave!); moving on to the mac and cheese.

•2 cups elbow macaroni, cooked and drained – save about one ladle of the cooking water
•Salt and pepper to taste
•White sauce (the roux)
•8 oz cubed cheese – this is where I messed up a wee, tiny bit. The original recipe, from victory or death in the kitchen, recommended about a fifty-fifty mix of sharp white Vermont cheddar, and good* white American cheese.

09RouxAddCheesebfLOI am not a fan of Vermont cheddar – it always tastes too ‘grassy’ to me – but I normally have a very nice Wisconsin or New York cheddar in my cheese drawer. This time? Not so much. BUT, I did have a very nice Door County Garlic Jack that I thought would do in a pinch which it did – but a good, sharp cheddar (from wherever) would’ve been much more better.

11RouxCheeseMeltedbfLO*All American cheeses are not created equal. Step away from the pre-sliced stuff in the refrigerated case and up to your friendly deli worker. They will be able to help you choose from the 3 (or more) American-process cheeses on offer in the deli case – and may even give you a taste of each. Some will be saltier than others, some will be super mellow, but ALL will be better than that stuff in the box, or individually wrapped for your convenience.

OK – macaroni cooked, drained, and returned to the pot with that one ladle of cooking water, we’re ready to put this all together.

Add the cubed cheese to your white sauce the minute it is done and while still hot.

Stir the cheese into the sauce, then pop back into the ‘wave for 15 to 20 seconds.

12MacCheeseAddRouxPepperbfLORemove from the ‘wave, stir, and repeat until the cheese is well and truly melted.

Taste the (now) cheese sauce, then pour over your cooked macaroni in the pot and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Nice mac and cheese. But the garlic jack didn’t provide the bite a nice cheddar would’ve. Oh well, I now have a good Wisconsin cheddar and a nice block of local farmer’s cheese in the drawer, I’ll need to revisit this recipe again.

By the way – if your mac and cheese turns out a bit too thick – stir in a splash of milk and you’ll be all good.

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