Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Smooth and Creamy Mac 'n' Cheese


Today I was watching my neighbor's son and the kids wanted mac and cheese for lunch. Growing up, mac and cheese was a staple. Not the stuff out of the boxes, but cook the noodles, add butter, milk and cheese and stir mac and cheese. While that recipe works, in college, my roommate Josie made some mac and cheese which I still remember. She was a farm girl and I was scandalized to see her mixing flour (what? flour?) into her mac and cheese. It was so amazingly creamy, I was stunned.

Since then, I've learned a little more about cooking and understand the theory behind a good roux. (I really love to write and use that word by the way). Here's my recipe for homemade mac and cheese. And please note - this is not a baked mac and cheese, rather a stovetop version.

3-4 quarts boiling water
2 1/2 c. macaroni noodles (uncooked)
1 t. salt
2 T. butter
2 T. flour
1/4 - 1/2 c. milk
2 c. shredded cheese (I use whatever is on hand)

Add salt to boiling water and then add noodles. Cook 15-18 minutes until done.
Drain noodles into a colander and set aside.

Working quickly, place pan back onto the stove and melt butter. Once melted, mix in flour and briskly stir until incorporated. Stir briskly for another minute, then add 1/4 c. milk and shredded cheese and mix into a smooth paste. Add noodles and coat thoroughly, adding milk as needed to thin the consistency.

Serve immediately.

Note - finely chopped onions add a fantastic crunch and flavor to this mac and cheese.
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