I hate making cheese sauce. It’s not difficult, it’s just a waiting game, and I always get bored watching and stirring it, so then it gets too thick. I also generally only make it for lasagne topping, but all of my recipes are for about four times the volume I need. I did once try freezing it, but it wasn’t quite the same – thanks to our permanently over freezing and frostbitten chest freezer.
But this time I decided to check our antiquated microwave cook book. Now this isn’t a cook book from either of the 2 microwaves I’ve bought and used in the past. Nope, this one is like a cook book from the 70s/80s when microwaves first really started taking off. If you watched the tv show Back for Dinner on BBC2 recently, you’ll know what I mean.
Anyway, anything for an easy life (but not so easy I just buy a readymade sauce), so I looked up a couple of the recipes in there. The first was mornay sauce (in the index as ‘alternative cheese sauce’. I thought mornay sauce was for fish, so I headed to the macaroni cheese recipe. I just needed to reduce the ingredients by a third to get to what I needed for a lasagne for 4 people. If you want it for macaroni cheese you might want to double it.
I don’t really use the microwave for anything other than porridge, scrambled eggs, and defrosting items, so I was interested to see how it turned out. Surprisingly it was really nice, although cooked a lot faster than I anticipated – obviously my 850W microwave is slightly more powerful than the 70s or 80s Sharp one in the recipe book.
How to make cheese sauce by microwave:
(for macaroni, lasagne, cauliflower cheese, or whatever else you fancy – serves 4).
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter (I used salted because I’d bought a block of it by accident and we need to use it up. I omitted the salt later on) or margarine
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- ¼ tsp mustard powder – I used less than this, but depends on your taste
- 175ml Milk
- Grated cheese – I used cheddar, but the recipe suggests a mix of Gouda and Cheddar. But whatever flavour hard cheese you fancy
- Ground black pepper
- Pinch salt (omit if using salted butter)
And the mystery ingredient 1 drop of red pepper sauce. I have no idea what this is, if you know then add it, if not you could add freshly ground nutmeg which is always great in cheese sauce.
How to make
1. Melt the butter in the microwave – on medium/high, checking every 20-30 secs
2. Add the flour and mix stir in to make a roux
3. Add the mustard powder, pepper, and milk. Stir to combine.
4. Microwave on high until thick. I found it was really thick, so added a bit more milk until it was the consistency I wanted.
5. Add the grated cheese and some freshly ground nutmeg. The cheese should mostly melt. If you want it smooth, add the cheese earlier. If it’s a topping and will be reheated, then just whack it on the food because it’ll melt and go smooth in the oven.
I’ll definitely be doing this again, because it’s a lot less stirring but tastes just as good as doing it in a pan on the hob. The OH didn’t notice it was any different to normal, which is always a result too.
What do you use your microwave for?