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
- Melt the butter in the microwave – on medium/high, checking every 20-30 secs
Add the flour and mix stir in to make a roux
Add the mustard powder, pepper, and milk. Stir to combine.
Microwave on high until thick. I found it was really thick, so added a bit more milk until it was the consistency I wanted.
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?