Mac and Cheese

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Joined Apr 18, 2017
So I'm a self taught Bbq and Cajun guy that does maybe 6-12 gigs a year and has done so for around 10 years. Everything I know I learned pretty much from trial and error, reading, watching videos and asking questions. Here is a problem I've had that I can't figure out. Whenever I make mac and cheese...by the time I get to the gig, it has kinda seized up almost like a casserole. Ive made it from scratch with a béchamel, Ive used a canned, processed cheese sauce and it always starts off creamy and delicious, but by the time I hold it in a Cambro for service, it tightens up and looks very unappealing. Anyone have any ideas on how to keep it loose and creamy while waiting for service? Thanks.
 
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Joined May 5, 2010
Hey Scott. Welcome to Cheftalk. Holding mac and cheese for any length of time is problem because the pasta is still absorbing any liquid...including any sauce you might put with it. My solution was to bring along a thermos of thinned out extra cheese sauce. That way I can stir it into the pan of mac and cheese to help keep it creamy the way you'd like it to be.
 
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Joined Apr 18, 2017
Hey Scott. Welcome to Cheftalk. Holding mac and cheese for any length of time is problem because the pasta is still absorbing any liquid...including any sauce you might put with it. My solution was to bring along a thermos of thinned out extra cheese sauce. That way I can stir it into the pan of mac and cheese to help keep it creamy the way you'd like it to be.
Sound advice. Thanks a bunch!!!
 
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Joined Sep 17, 2018
I agree with bringing extra sauce. I also will make mine "soupier" if I have to transport it and hold because of the outcomes you have already gone into. If you had the means you could also bring the hot ingredients separately and toss them together in a bowl and put into dishes at the event.
 
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Joined Jan 31, 2012
Late to the party here, but the same thing happens
with alfredo sauce, whether its with pasta or not.
It thickens with time, you have to thin it out with milk or
thin sauce, just like making oatmeal in batches.
 
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Joined Mar 1, 2017
Or simply cook the pasta and the cheese sauce, keep them separate, heat the sauce to make it fluid again on site and combine it with the pasta just before service. Keep some fresh milk handy to add later when the sauce tightens up.

If it were me, I'd invest in a couple of gas burners and make the mac-n-cheese on site.

Takes the guess work right out of it.
 
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Joined Oct 2, 2016
Yes, cook the 2 elements, to assemble them "à la minute"
Some pasta absorb more liquid than others depending on their quality
For the gratin, place a tile of roasted cheese on the portion.
 
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Joined Feb 25, 2021
I know this is an old thread - but I came here looking for help with this very thing. We have been "part time caterers" for about 20 years (we sell and service commercial smokers). We are a family business and mostly just cater for folks we know. We have a customer that wants a mac and cheese bar for their wedding. For those of you suggesting making and transporting the pasta and the sauce separately; how do you keep the pasta from sticking together in the pan as one big chunk if you do not add the cheese ahead of time? I would have used butter, but a commenter above said not to do that because it will prevent the cheese from adhering to the pasta when you combine them?
Thanks in advance!
 
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Joined Mar 1, 2017
I know this is an old thread - but I came here looking for help with this very thing. We have been "part time caterers" for about 20 years (we sell and service commercial smokers). We are a family business and mostly just cater for folks we know. We have a customer that wants a mac and cheese bar for their wedding. For those of you suggesting making and transporting the pasta and the sauce separately; how do you keep the pasta from sticking together in the pan as one big chunk if you do not add the cheese ahead of time? I would have used butter, but a commenter above said not to do that because it will prevent the cheese from adhering to the pasta when you combine them?
Thanks in advance!
I think the best solution in your situation that doesn't require purchasing equipment for onsite use would be to simply combine the pasta and cheese sauce, transport it to the venue, put the mac and cheese in hotel pans and heat it. Add whole milk or half-n-half as needed to reconstitute the sauce.

Aside from cooking the mac and cheese on site, this is always going to be an exercise is robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Good luck. :)
 
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Joined Jan 31, 2012
You keep it from sticking by transporting it in a certain amount of water.
Keeps it hot, but not enuf to cook further.
Once on site, drain most of it, but still leave some water in, serve
with slotted spoon or tongs.
 
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