July 31, 2009
The best mac and cheese ever
Hello, my name is Alicia and my two major food groups are cake and cheese. I actually went to the grocery store last week and spent $30 out of a $40 trip exclusively on dairy products. I am the bane of the lactose intolerant.
I am sharing with you this supremely delicious macaroni and cheese recipe. It is definitely my go-to for comfort food. Originally a Betty Crocker recipe, I’ve tweaked it a little for my needs. As time progresses, you will see I have a sordid love affair with Betty Crocker.
Macaroni and Cheeseyields one loaf pan of lovely, bubbly goodness
- 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni (I like the spiraled elbows, myself)
- 2 tablespoons butter (No, do not substitute margarine. Real butter from a stick, please.)
- 1 small red onion, chopped finely or minced (approx. 1/3 cup, more if you like onion or are using very sharp cheese. If you’re lazy, a tsp or so of onion powder will work.)
- 2 tbs flour (all-purpose)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 2 cups whole milk (Do not use under 2%, period. Whole will yield best results.)
- 8 ounces cheddar cheese, grated or finely cubed (I recommend buying real cheese and not Kraft if you can find it. the success of this dish is directly related to the quality of cheese you choose to employ.)
Pre-heat oven to 375.
Par-boil the pasta. I usually let it go for 6-7 minutes instead of the full 8-9. You want it to still be very al dente, but not crunchy. If you over to it, the pasta will just turn to mush and be gross.
While the pasta is boiling, melt butter in a medium-small sauce pan on medium-high heat. Add onion and salt and pepper, and cook until onion just barely starts to brown. Then add the flour into the mixture and stir until it becomes bubbly, what you’re doing is making a roux. I never have much luck with it remaining liquid enough to become bubbly, so as long as it’s mixed thoroughly and forms a paste, you’re fine.
Remove the pan from heat and begin pouring in the milk. Pour the milk in slowly, 1/4 cup or so at a time, and blend until it’s completely incorporated each time. Return pan to heat and continue stirring constantly until milk comes to a boil. At some point before the milk comes to a boil, your pasta will finish boiling. Strain pasta thoroughly and dump into your pan. Let milk boil for one minute and remove from heat.
Add in the cheese and stir until cheese is completely melted and smooth. Do not return to heat, returning to heat will cause the proteins in the cheese to break down and you will be left with a clumpy mess. Dump the cheese mixture in into the pan with the pasta. “Fluff” the pasta so it is completely covered in the delicious cheese sauce and pop in the oven for 30ish mins, or until brown and bubbly.