Macaroni and Cheese
(American pasta with cheese)
Macaroni and cheese is an old American favorite dating back almost to the time of the American Revolution. Always a Southern favorite, its popularity really took off after Kraft introduced a boxed version in the 1930s. Kraft's version became so popular that some people now prefer their packaged to the homemade. We still think homemade is best.
4 to 6 servings
- Macaroni -- 1/2 pound
- Butter -- 2 tablespoons
- Flour -- 3 tablespoons
- Milk -- 2 cups
- Sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded -- 2 or 3 cups
- Salt and white pepper -- to taste
- Cook the macaroni according to package directions. Drain, toss with a little butter and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a medium saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and let it cook and bubble for 1 or 2 minutes. Do not brown or burn.
- Whisk in the cold milk all at once, beating out any lumps. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer until thickened, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Remove the sauce from heat and stir in the cheese until melted. Season to taste with salt and white pepper.
- In a large bowl, mix together the cheese sauce and the cooked macaroni. Pour into a buttered baking dish and bake, uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes to heat through and brown the top.
Macaroni & Cheese Variations
- Try using a mixture of cheeses — Cheddar, Jack, Parmesan, Gouda. Some cooks swear by Velveeta.
- Top with extra shredded cheese before baking if you like.
- Substitute half the milk with half-and-half for a creamier result.
- For a crispy, gratinéed result, top the macaroni and cheese with about 1/2 cup of fresh bread crumbs dot with 1 tablespoon of butter and bake. Or use crumbled potato chips.
- Use different varieties of pasta for a texture change.
- Stir in some chopped ham, chopped tomatoes or minced herbs (parsley, thyme) before baking. Sprinkle the top with a little paprika. Add a splash of Worcestershire sauce or 1 or 2 teaspoons of dried ground mustard. Use your imagination
- Stir in 1/4 cup mayonnaise before baking to add creaminess.