Macaroni and Cheese ~
My childhood request for my birthday dinner was my Mother's macaroni and cheese. That and cherry pie....or spice cake. My memories are fuzzy. I do remember that she used crushed saltines and butter for the topping. I don't have the guts to buy saltine's anymore - a sleeve of non-nutritional crunchy-salty white flour food that I find very appealing. Evil things. I try very hard to avoid them entirely, I find them addictive. Anywhoo ~
It's Foodie Friday. I'm on West Coast time....so I'm slipping this in under the wire.
4 T. butter
4 T. flour
2 1/2 c. whole or 2% milk
Extra 1/2 c. milk
Salt and Pepper
Pinch of cayenne
8 oz. cheddar cheese, grated - tonight I used mild
1/2 pound pasta, your favorite shape
1 - 1 1/2 bread crumbs from fresh bread
3-4 T. butter, melted
Pinch of salt
- Combine butter, bread crumbs and a pinch of salt.
- Get pasta to cooking. Stop cooking before it reaches al dente. It should have a little more than a bite to it. Drain when ready to add to cheese sauce.
- Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium flame.
- Add flour to butter, whisking. Cook for a minute or two, continuing to stir.
- Slowly add milk while whisking constantly. I do not warm the milk, though you may prefer to do so.
- Bring sauce to a low boil, whisking almost constantly.
- Add salt, pepper, the cayenne.
- Reduce heat to a low simmer, cook for 2-3 three minutes more.
- Remove from heat, add cheese and stir until melted.
- Add the additional 1/2 cup milk to loosen a little without further cooking.
- Add the drained noodles to the cheese sauce.
- Pour into a greased baking dish, top with crumbs.
I love a sharp raw milk cheese in this, sometimes mixed with a jack to smooth it out.
I prefer a fusilli or a gemelli, Italian brands. They hold up better, having a good firmness.
Smoked Gouda and garlic is delicious and a little different.