- Prepared Macaroni and Cheese (recipe follows)
- 2 large eggs
- Pinch each of salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup grated hard cheese, such as Parmesan or Pecorino Romano
- Nonstick cooking spray
This isn’t so much about how to make macaroni and cheese as it is about what to do with leftovers. So while you may find your own path to macaroni and cheese, I have included my favorite recipe. If you have no leftovers (completely understandable) and you make the macaroni and cheese specifically for this purpose, that’s fine too, of course. But you’re going to have to let it cool in the refrigerator for a while. It needs to be easy to handle.
There were a lot of false starts on waffling macaroni and cheese. At first, I tried just waffling the cooked and cooled chunks, but after a few minutes in the waffle iron, the cheese had melted away and the macaroni stubbornly refused to conform to the grid of the waffle iron. It had all of the easily imaginable drawbacks of waffled macaroni and cheese—cheese melts easily, after all—and none of the advantages (that is, no discernible waffle form).
Then I decided to get clever, which, as you may suspect, didn’t lead to anything good.
If the noodles were refusing to bend to the will and the weight of the waffle iron, I thought maybe I could cut them down to size. So I dumped a batch of cold macaroni and cheese into the food processor and gave it a whirl. I envisioned the resulting pellet-size bits of macaroni and cheese conforming easily to the grids of the waffle iron, fusing together into one magnificent macaroni and cheese waffle.
Not so much.
So what did work? Breading it.
The bread crumbs come between the intense heat of the waffle iron and the cheese and allow the whole thing to stay intact—just barely. It takes a light touch. You should be prepared for some things to fall apart.
Three notes about making the macaroni and cheese itself:
First, when making the sauce, use a saucepan large enough to accommodate the pasta, because you’ll end up pouring the pasta into the sauce in the end.
Also, if the milk, butter, and flour mixture doesn’t thicken after 5 minutes or so, you’re better off starting that part over with new butter and flour rather than throwing all the cheese in there and hoping for the best. The best won’t happen; you’ll just end up with gloppy macaroni and cheese.
And, lastly, if you use a small, regular shape like elbows, the recipe will fit perfectly in a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan. If you use a more exotic shape, you might have a bit of overflow, which of course you will be obligated to eat while the macaroni and cheese bakes in the pan.
Hey, no one said this would be easy.
- Cut the macaroni and cheese into slices about 1⁄2 inch thick.
- Preheat the waffle iron on medium. Preheat the oven on its lowest setting.
- In a small bowl, beat the egg with a pinch each of salt and pepper.
- Set out 3 shallow bowls. Measure the flour into the first. In the second bowl, place the beaten eggs. Mix the bread crumbs with the cheese in the third.
- Take a slice of the macaroni and cheese, and, handling it gently, coat both sides in the flour. Then dunk both sides in the egg. Finally, coat both sides with the bread crumbs, pressing the mixture so it sticks. Set aside the slice and repeat with the remaining slices.
- Coat both sides of the waffle iron grid with nonstick spray. Place the macaroni and cheese slices in the waffle iron, close the lid, and cook until heated through and golden brown,
- The extraction process can be tricky. With a silicone spatula, loosen the edges of the macaroni and cheese. Use the spatula to gently pry the macaroni and cheese from the waffle iron and then support the bottom with the spatula while you lift it out with tongs.
- Repeat Steps 5 through 7 until all of the macaroni and cheese has been waffled. Keep the finished macaroni and cheese warm in the oven.
Macaroni and Cheese
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing pan
- 1 pound elbow or shell pasta
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/2 teaspoon yellow or Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Butter a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and set it aside.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. When the water is at a rolling boil, add the pasta. Cook the pasta until it is slightly underdone, checking a few minutes before the cooking time on the package directions. (If you bite into a piece, you should be able to see a very thin core of uncooked pasta.) Drain the pasta and set aside.
- Melt the 3 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the flour to the melted butter, whisking constantly. Continue to whisk
for 2 minutes. Add the milk, 1⁄2 cup at a time, waiting until the mixture is thoroughly combined before adding more. Whisk constantly over medium-low heat until the mixture thickens to the consistency of heavy cream, about 5 minutes.
- Turn off the heat, add the mustard, 1 1⁄4 teaspoon salt, and pepper, and stir. Add the shredded Cheddar cheese a handful at a time, stirring constantly until the cheese melts. Add the pasta to the cheese mixture, stir to coat thoroughly, and then pour the cheese-covered pasta into the prepared loaf pan.
- Sprinkle the grated Parmesan cheese on top and bake until the top is brown and crispy, about 20 minutes.
- Set aside to cool for an hour, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the macaroni is well chilled and the cheese has solidified (at least 2 hours, or overnight).
Find out more at willitwaffle.com.