Waffled macaroni and cheese might not rank quite as high on the list of "things you must try before you die" as, say, a fresh-from-the-water oyster, or a sliver of Parmesan sliced off of a wheel that has just been opened in front of your eyes, or a bit of playful light bondage, but it's certainly good enough that it should immediately make your list of second-tier priorities.
That is, if you do it right, of course.
Why this recipe works:
- Waffling macaroni and cheese creates crispy, crusty edges of cheese with a gooey, soft core.
- By spreading the macaroni and cheese out into a cut-able sheet, you eliminate the need for breading of any kind when waffling it.
- 1 pound dried macaroni
- Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons butter, plus more for greasing baking sheet
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 cups whole milk
- Dash hot sauce, plus more for serving
- 1 teaspoon mustard
- 1 1/4 pounds grated cheddar cheese
- Maple syrup for serving (optional)
Place pasta in a large pot and cover with lukewarm water by 2 inches. Add 2 tablespoons salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, and cook until pasta is tender, about 6 minutes after coming to a boil. Drain pasta.
While pasta cooks, heat butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until melted. Add flour and cook, stirring, until pale golden blond. Slowly whisk in whole milk. Whisk in hot sauce and mustard. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and stir in 3/4 pounds grated cheese. Stir until melted. If smoother texture is desired, transfer to a blender and blend on high speed until glossy and smooth.
When pasta is cooked, add cheese sauce and stir to combine. Pour mixture into a greased rimmed baking sheet and flatten with a spatula. Refrigerate until completely set, about 30 minutes.
Preheat a waffle iron. Carefully cut macaroni and cheese into 8 even squares.
Using a wide spatula, carefully lift one square and plate it on a cutting board. Cover top with 1/4 of remaining cheese. Place another square of macaroni on top of cheese, creating a sandwich.
Place sandwich in waffle maker. Close and cook until golden brown on both sides and cheese has crisped up, about 6 minutes. Remove from waffle iron and serve with syrup and hot sauce. Repeat steps 4 through 6 for remaining waffles.
Rimmed baking sheet, waffle iron