Macaroni and cheese is one of those comfort dishes that just never gets old. Whether it comes from a box or is made from scratch, that creamy, cheesy goodness is one of life’s greatest joys for many of us. But did you know that adding one simple ingredient could take your mac and cheese to the next level?
Your standard mac and cheese recipe includes milk, cheese, and butter, but adding in a little fresh nutmeg will seriously elevate the flavor. And it only takes a tiny amount—just an eighth of a teaspoon.
Freshly-grated whole nutmeg (not jarred) will transform any version of mac and cheese into a decadent dining experience. Nutmeg is used as a seasoning base for béchamel sauce. That’s the thick, creamy white sauce that’s used as a base for numerous other sauces—including the traditional mac and cheese sauce.
Nutmeg will add warmth and complexity to your average one-note sauce, making this ultimate comfort food even cozier to tuck into. Here’s what you’ll need to do:
- Gather your ingredients for a classic béchamel sauce: butter, flour, milk, nutmeg, and salt.
- In a saucepan, make a paste known as a roux by whisking together equal parts butter and flour. This is what gives your béchamel sauce its creamy goodness.
- Gradually whisk whole milk into your roux. Don’t pour the milk in all at once, though, because that will make your sauce lumpy. Instead, add the milk slowly and whisk as you do so. Allow this mixture to sit on low heat for about 20 minutes, then mix in salt and nutmeg to add flavor.
- Add in some shredded Gruyère or cheddar cheese to turn that béchamel into a Mornay sauce (the fancy term for mac and cheese sauce).
- Mix in some freshly ground black pepper, fold in your cooked pasta, and top your creation off with breadcrumbs.
If you’re starting off with boxed mac and cheese, simply add your grated nutmeg when adding your powdered cheese, butter, and milk, then stir to blend.