Modernist Macaroni & Cheese

27 Oct

Macaroni cheese with sausages is a strong memory from my childhood of one of those meals my mum (an amazing cook) would cook on a friday evening when she was tired from the week and wanted something easier and that we’d all love.

Since then I always think of it as a comfort food and though I’ve tried many variations sometimes the simplest is the best.

I first came across this recipe a while ago but it’s taken me this long to get hold of Sodium Citrate and then manage to remember to buy all the other ingredients needed. But needing a good vodka-soaking-up food for my tasting this weekend I wanted to try the recipe before making a huge batch and unleashing it on guests. I especially loved that the sauce apparently keeps for a week in the fridge and a month frozed.


The recipe for the sauce is simple:

  • 265ml of milk or water
  • 11g Sodium Citrate
  • 285g cheese- finely grated
  1. Add the Sodium Citrate to the liquid and whisk to disolve.
  2. Heat over  a low heat until simmering.
  3. Slowly add the cheese mixing with an immersion blender and fully melting (the mixture can get foamy but this soon disappears)
  4. Pour over cooked pasta, cauliflower etc and enjoy!


I did as instructed and tasted- amazing!

It was a very rich cheese sauce with none of the uncooked or overcooked flour taste normally associated with making the sauce from a roux. The cheese shone through and wasn’t diluted by the flour.

But, it was very rich.

As I made it I remember that previously I always added some mustard (preferably English) and I felt it did need something like this to cut through the richness. Lacking mustard I searched the cupboards and came up with two alternatives- vinegar and beer.

Experimenting I added a bit of each to a sample of the sauce and wow- it truly stepped it up a notch. The additions didn’t detract from the sauce but instead added to it making sure the richness wasn’t too overpowering or sickly.

So I added some of each (maybe 1/2 tbs vinegar and 4tbs beer) to the sauce and began with the accompaniments.

As my pasta boiled I fried up some leeks (another thing I thought might help cut through the richness without being too overpowering like onions could be) and some good old basic sausages. A meal like this doesn’t call for herbs and fancy flavours- plain pork sausages with some  filler was just perfect.

Fried leeks added flavour and something to cut through the richness of the sauce

Fried leeks added flavour and something to cut through the richness of the sauce




To serve I mixed the leeks with the sauce and poured over the pasta.

The sauce was thick and delicious

The sauce was thick and delicious

Sadly I messed up at the end by making the rookie mistake of forgetting that without stirring each piece of past would have a little bit of water in it which when combined would water down the sauce- this extra water plus the liquid addtions I’d made meant the sauce was looser than I’d hoped- but no less delicous. (Since then I’ve read that because the sauce is so smooth it doesn’t coat so well so maybe it was this also that made it seem thinner when added to the pasta).

p.s. heated up in the microwave the next day the left-overs were just as good with no deterioration in the sauce.









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