So how do you actually make a cheese sauce from scratch? There are actually many ways to make a cheese sauce. As a French trained chef, the first that comes to my mind is Mornay Sauce (butter+flour+milk+cheese) … but Mac and Mornay? Just doesn’t sound quite right. And whenever I’ve made a Mornay Sauce with pasta, it tastes like just that, sauce “with” pasta. The sauce is delicious on it’s own but never completely marries itself with the noodles, becoming one … like a married couple with separate bank accounts. You see, the best thing about box macaroni and cheese is the slippery noodles that are completely one with sauce. They have fallen in love and you can’t tell where one ends and the other begins – the flavor is inseparable.
To create a velvety smooth sauce, almost custard like in texture, I discarded the way of Bechamel (butter+flour+milk) and chose eggs. This egg based cheese sauce is made in a similar way as Pasta Carbonara, but not Italian at all. I started this recipe idea with Wisconsin Asadero cheese, from there I ran south of the border with a Mexican theme: chilies, cumin, oregano, and Salsa Verde.
1 ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon dried oregano – lightly ground in the palm of your hand
4 oz can of roasted green chilies (hot or mild)
1 cup (about 6 oz) Wisconsin Asadero Cheese – grated
1/2 cup (about 3oz) Wisconsin Jack – grated
1/2 cup (about 3 oz) Wisconsin Cheddar- grated
2 oz Wisconsin Cheddar -grated
Bring a large pot of water to a boil with 1 Tablespoon of kosher salt
In a medium bowl combine eggs, half and half, salsa, salt, pepper, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, and green chilies – mix well
Add macaroni to boiling water and cook for about 5 minutes – just under aldente – drain
Place macaroni back into hot pot over low heat
Add in half of the egg mixture and half of the cheese and slowly stir until cheese begins to melt- about 1-2 minutes.
Add in the rest of the egg mixture and cheese and gently continue to stir over low heat for about 5 minutes- until velvety and creamy
Turn off the heat and allow the macaroni to sit for approximately 3-4 minutes – this will help the sauce to slightly thicken.
Place into an oven proof dish and top with remaining 2 oz of cheese and place under the broiler for 3-4 minutes to melt the cheese.
Serve warm – garnish with shredded cheese and fresh salsa