For those of you math nuts out there, you will appreciate this recipe. I first conceived of it while watching an Ancient Aliens episode on Nikola Tesla. Apparently he was fanatical about the numbers 3, 6 and 9, as well as just about everything else. Tesla said “If you only knew the magnificence of the 3, 6 and 9, then you would have a key to the universe.” While I have to admit that I really don’t know of the true profoundness of which Tesla spoke of 3,6, and 9, I wanted to see how these magic numbers would apply to my cooking. You will notice the measurements in these, and multiples of these numbers. And, maybe I didn’t find the key to the universe anywhere in the bottom of the pan, but the resulting mac-n-cheese made me feel like I had. Best mac-n-cheese ever. This recipe is a little fussy and precise (like Tesla) and requires the use of a kitchen scale for just about every ingredient, but you won’t be sorry you took the time. See my additional math note at the bottom. Thanks, Nik!
3, 6, 9 Mac N Cheese
9 oz medium cheddar cheese, grated
9 oz Monterey Jack cheese, grated
6 oz gouda cheese, grated
1.5 oz. parmesan cheese, grated
1.5 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated
18 oz elbow macaroni noodles
27 oz whole milk
3 oz butter
3 oz flour
18 grates of fresh nutmeg (seriously, grate it 18 times on your micro plane)
¼ teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 oz. bread crumbs, plain or seasoned
First, weigh out all of your ingredients.
For the seasonings: Place small bowl on a kitchen scale and tare it out on the grams setting. Place nutmeg and pepper in the bowl and add enough salt that the scale comes to 9 grams. Total spice mixture should weigh 9 grams. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 375.
Bring a pot of water, drizzled with oil to a boil over high heat.
Place milk in a small saucepan over medium low heat (I set my burner to 3, of course). The milk should be scalding hot when used, but not boiling.
In a large pot over medium heat, melt and heat butter until hot. Whisk in flour and stir continually for around 3 minutes. The flour should take on a nice butter smell. If it does, you are good to go.
Pour in 1/3 of the hot milk and whisk until thick and fairly smooth. Whisk in the remaining hot milk and continue whisking until the entire mixture is thickened.
Remove from heat and, little by little, whisk in the grated cheeses, making sure each addition is fully incorporated before adding any more cheese. Whisk in the seasonings at any time during this process. Once the cheeses are fully incorporated, boil the pasta until al dente. It takes 6 minutes on my stove. Drain pasta and stir into cheese mixture. Pour pasta out into a large baking dish, top with- bread crumbs and bake just until hot and bubbling around the edges.
This will take anywhere between 18-27 minutes. Gooey goodness!
And, if you liked my title and intro, it’s interesting to note that the yield of this dish is exactly 6 pounds of awesome mac-n-cheese.