Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday night dinner ~

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 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.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

 Notes ~

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.

Toodles ~


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