Grandma's Mac and Cheese

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I haven't posted any recipes lately merely because I haven't been cooking much lately - or at least cooking anything worth sharing. So I thought I would post this recipe for classic macaroni and cheese in the meanwhile - until I have a recipe worth sharing, which will hopefully be soon.

This recipe comes from my mom via my Grandmother. It is a very classic macaroni and cheese and is perfect to serve for adults and kids when the mood for something comforting and familiar is in order.

Photo Note: And I apologize about the lackluster photo. I promise, though, this mac and cheese is delicious.

Grandma’s Classic Macaroni and Cheese

Serves 6

I have certainly had (either made or eaten) my fair share of macaroni and cheese, and though I have had some good ones, nothing beats my Grandma’s classic recipe. I have had macaroni cheese with fancy noodles, exotic cheeses, breadcrumb topping, sliced tomatoes, and unnecessary foreign ingredients and still my all time favorite is my Grandma’s well-loved recipe. What makes this macaroni and cheese dish amazing is taking the extra effort to find really good extra sharp cheddar cheese. I suggest opting out of the rubbery grocery store kind and going to a gourmet cheese shop.

1 pound elbow pasta, or any medium size macaroni shape noodle
1/2 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, graded
1 cup soda cracker crumbs

Cheese Sauce
8 tablespoons butter
6-8 tablespoons flour
4 cup milk (you can use 1%, 2% or whole milk)
1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
pinch of pepper
4 cups (about 16 ounces) extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Set aside a large casserole dish with a lid, and preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

 Meanwhile, melt the butter on low heat in a medium size heavy saucepan. Add just enough flour to the butter to make a paste. Slowly stir in the milk to the flour/butter mixture. Continue to stir and cook over low/medium heat until the sauce has thickened. Add the salt and pepper. Turn the heat off and stir in the cheese until melted.

When the water has come to a boil add a tablespoon of salt and the pasta and cook the pasta 1 minute less than the package’s cooking instructions call for. (The pasta will finish cooking in the oven.) Drain the pasta and add to the casserole dish, and combine with the cheese sauce. Toss the noodles evenly with the sauce and taste for more salt. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese on top of the macaroni and sprinkle the cracker crumbs on top of the cheese. Bake, with a lid, for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for 10 minutes more. Serve warm.


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