Wish I could stop fretting about mac and cheese.
A while ago I wrote a story called “Macaroni and Cheese Once and For All.” Who was I kidding? I’m still futzing with the recipe. Now I’m streamlining it, even more, using less white sauce and blowing off the breadcrumb or cracker crumb topping completely. Don’t be fooled by fancy mac and cheese recipes featuring too many cheeses. You don’t need a four cheese mac. No one does. Even the Dairy Council can’t say that with a straight face. Just use a good cheddar.
Okay, beyond good cheddar. I”ve got one word for you for creamy mac and cheese. VELVEETA. Yes, our favorite processed cheese food product offers excellent emulsifying properties to the cheese sauce. Add 1/2 a pound or so of Velveeta to the cheese sauce and reduce the other cheddar as you like. You’ll see.
The critical components are easy to remember when you’re in the store without a list. I like even amounts that are easy to remember like our favorite Three Pound Bag French Onion Soup.
- 1 pound macaroni
- 4 to 6 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 quart milk
- 1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, grated (4 cups)
- Salt, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
Heat the oven to 350°F. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain, and pour into a buttered 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Make the white sauce while the pasta is cooking. Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook a minute or two. Add the milk and cook over medium heat until slightly thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat and add 3 cups of the cheese. Stir to melt. Season with salt and dry mustard. Pour the sauce over the pasta. Cover lightly with foil. Bake about 20 minutes. Add the remaining cheese and continue to bake about 10 minutes. Serve immediately. Makes about 8 servings.
Note: You do not have to bake the casserole. Just stir the sauce in with the pasta and serve.