Allison Arevalo and Erin Wade, of Oakland's Homeroom, have turned mac and cheese into a lifestyle at their temple to the comfort classic.
Offering everything from the standard (Classic Mac) to twisted reincarnations (Trailer Mac—with Niman Ranch hot dog and topped with crushed potato chips), they are truly using their noodles. Get 50 recipes from their repertoire in The Mac + Cheese Cookbook—or taste a sneak peek with the one below, and say good morning to mac.
1/2 pound dried elbow pasta
1/2 pound sliced bacon
2 cups Mac Sauce (see below)
2 cups grated extra-sharp, aged Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large eggs
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until a little less than al dente.
2. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain the pasta again.
3. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
4. Cook the bacon in a frying pan over high heat until crispy, about 8 minutes.
5. Remove extra grease by patting the strips with a paper towel, and then cut into bite-size pieces.
6. Add the sauce and cheese to a large, heavy-bottomed pot and cook over medium heat. Stir until the cheese is barely melted, about 3 minutes.
7. Add the bacon and stir to combine.
8. Slowly add the cooked pasta, stir, and continue cooking while stirring continuously until the dish is nice and hot, another 5 minutes.
9. Spoon the mac and cheese into 4 individual, 5-inch-diameter ovenproof bowls.
10. Sprinkle the panko evenly on top of each bowl.
11. Bake until bubbly, 10 to 15 minutes.
12. While the macs are cooking, fry the eggs: Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.
13. Crack 2 of the eggs into the pan, cover, and let cook undisturbed for 3 to 4 minutes. The eggs are done when all the egg white is completely opaque, and the yolk is still nice and bright.
14. Slide the eggs onto a plate and repeat with the remaining tablespoon of butter and 2 eggs.
15. Remove the macs from the oven, and slide a fried egg on top of each one.
16. Top each egg with some black pepper. Serve immediately.
Beer Pairing: IPA
Wine Pairing: Rosé
Mac Sauce (Béchamel 101)
(Makes 3 cups)
3 cups whole milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt or 1 teaspoon table salt
1. Heat the milk in a pot over medium heat until it just starts to bubble, but is not boiling, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.
2. Heat the butter over medium heat in a separate, heavy-bottomed pot. When the butter has just melted, add the flour and whisk constantly until the mixture turns light brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
3. Slowly pour the warm milk, about 1 cup at a time, into the butter-flour mixture, whisking constantly. It will get very thick when you first add the milk, and thinner as you slowly pour in the entire 3 cups. This is normal.
4. Once all the milk has been added, set the pot back over medium-high heat, and continue to whisk constantly. In the next 2 to 3 minutes the sauce should come together and become silky and thick.
5. Use the spoon test to make sure it's ready. To do this, dip a metal spoon into the sauce—if the sauce coats the spoon and doesn't slide off like milk, you'll know it's ready. You should be able to run your finger along the spoon and have the impression remain.
6. Add the salt.
7. The Mac Sauce is ready to use immediately and does not need to cool. Store it in the fridge for a day or two if you want to make it ahead of time—it will get a lot thicker when put in the fridge, so it may need a little milk to thin it out a bit when it comes time to melt in the cheese. Try melting the cheese into the sauce first, and if it is too thick then add milk as needed.
Reprinted with permission from The Mac + Cheese Cookbook: 50 Simple Recipes from Homeroom, America's Favorite Mac and Cheese Restaurant, by Allison Arevalo and Erin Wade, copyright 2013. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.