Recipe: Mac & Cheese
At O&B, we love our mac and cheese. While it might seem like the most traditional of dishes, many of our restaurants offer their own unique spin on this common comfort food. This week, Sous Chef Vida Gavia showed us the O&B Bayview Village twist on the classic recipe.
She begins by pouring her mac sauce (recipe below) into a saucepan on medium-high heat. They typically make 80 litres of this sauce, which doubles as a Béchamel sauce, at least twice a week!
Once the mac sauce begins to bubble, Chef Vida pours in a bit of chicken stock to loosen it up. She then adds three different blends of cheese: mozzarella, Niagara Gold and Swiss, as well as cheese curds – all sourced from Cheese Boutique. When it comes to this recipe, there’s no skimping on the cheese!
An older version of Bayview’s mac and cheese opted for Parmesan, Balderson cheddar and goat cheese. But there’s something about the current cheese combination that just seems to work perfectly.
“The Niagara Gold is a little bit nutty in taste,” says Chef Vida. “And the cheese curds give that gooey texture to the dish.”
After folding in the cheese, she brings it all to a boil, careful not to overboil in order to avoid thickening the cream too much. She then adds green peas and the pre-blanched macaroni noodles.
After a quick toss and seasoning of salt to taste, the mac and cheese is ready to be poured out into a personal-sized casserole dish. The last step is to dust the top with crushed Goldfish crackers (the cheddar flavour, since obviously there’s no such thing as too much cheese) before popping it under the broiler for a quick 10-20 seconds – just until the top is golden brown.
“The Goldfish aren’t just a gimmick – the kids love it and they taste good too!” insists Chef de Cuisine Steven Kwon, who loves sneaking a bite or two of his kid’s mac and cheese whenever they order it.
The final product is a deliciously creamy, oozy mac and cheese perfect for the kids and the young at heart. One of the restaurant’s top-sellers, guests can choose to goose theirs up with double-smoked bacon, or even smoked salmon during weekend brunch. On Saturday nights, look out for baked lobster mac and cheese as part of the Surf & Turf dinner special. The kitchen is also happy to offer a gluten-free version of the dish, with a flour-free mac sauce made-to-order.
While Chef Steven will sometimes play around with the details of the mac and cheese recipe with Corporate Executive Chef Anthony Walsh, he’s confident the dish is immune from ever being dropped from the menu. It’s as indispensable as the O&B Mushroom Soup.
Whether you choose to recreate our mac and cheese at home, or join us in the restaurant for the occasional indulgence, we hope this recipe evokes all the comforting sentiments the kid in all of us has grown to appreciate.
Mac & Cheese Recipe (Serves 4-6)
Mac Sauce Ingredients
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 stalks celery
- 1/2 cup onion, sliced
- 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp. white pepper
- 1.5 tsp. salt
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1L 35% cream
- 0.8L 1% milk
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 cup chicken stock
Mac and Cheese Ingredients
- 8 cups macaroni noodles, cooked
- 1/4 cup cheese curds
- 1/4 cup grated cheese
- 1/3 cup peas, cooked
- 1 tbsp. Goldfish cracker crumbs
- In a pot, melt butter. Add onions, celery, bay leaf, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
- Sweat until completely cooked. Add flour and cook the roux. Slowly add the cream, while working the roux. Add all of the cream and milk. Add the chicken stock.
- Add Dijon and continue stirring constantly until all the flour is well cooked out.
- Whisk in the Parmesan and cook out until the sauce is completely smooth. Adjust seasoning to taste.
- Add cooked macaroni noodles, cooked peas, cheese curds, and grated cheese to the sauce.
- Sprinkle Goldfish crumbs and broil.