Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Macaroni & Cheese

If your house is anything like mine, there is a request for Mac & Cheese weekly daily.  Ashlyn would live off of m&c if we let her.  Unfortunately for her, we don't let her, but that could be because I have a hard time with self control when it comes to ooey gooey Mac & Cheese.  Especially this recipe.


This recipe is quick, easy, and I generally have everything on hand to make it.  You can make it kinda cheesy (8 oz of cheese, 1/4 cup of parmesan), or really cheesy (12 oz cheese, 1/2 cup parmesan).  We (surprise, surprise) prefer the latter.  And you know, what, I may or may not have thrown even more cheese in it a time or two....



In the winter, I bake it in the oven.  It's great baked in a glass baking dish, but even better in a cast iron pan (this is the one I bake ours in).  In the summer, I do all the prep work on the stovetop, but bake it on the grill in either CI or in a disposable (recyclable) pan.  The grill gives it a nice smoky flavor and crisps up the bottom, which I love.  This is also a great recipe to make ahead.  Get all the prep done, cover and stick in the fridge for up to 2 days before baking.  Just add about 10-15 minutes to your bake time.


Mac & Cheese
Serves 4-8

Ingredients:

16 oz pasta (any noodle will work, use whatever you've got in the pantry!)
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cups milk (preferably whole or 2%)
1/4 tsp dried mustard
1/4 tsp black pepper
8-12 oz shredded cheese
1/4-1/2 cup fresh parmesan, grated
Additional melted butter, olive oil, or cooking spray

Directions:

1.  Cook the pasta until slightly underdone (it will finish cooking in the sauce).  Drain, rinse thoroughly with cool water, and set aside.  Butter or oil your baking dish if needed and preheat oven or grill to 350 degrees.

2.  Melt the butter in a large saucepan (I use the same one I cook the pasta in) over medium low heat - be careful not to burn the butter.  Once melted, whisk in the flour until completely combined.  Slowly begin whisking in the milk 1/4 cup at a time being sure to whisk out any lumps.  Once all the milk is combined, add the mustard and pepper and turn the heat up to medium.  Continue whisking frequently until the sauce begins to simmer.

3.  Once the sauce begins to simmer, whisk constantly until the desired thickness is desired.  Don't let the sauce get too thick because the cheese will thicken it up by quite a bit.  You want it to be the consistency of a thin gravy.

4.  Remove the pan from the heat and add in 3/4 of the shredded cheese, reserving the rest for the top.  Stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until cheese is completely melted.  Add in the reserved pasta and stir to coat.  Transfer to baking dish and top with remaining shredded cheese and parmesan.  Bake for 20 minutes covered, remove cover and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until top is golden and sauce is bubbling.  Enjoy!!


~ Sara :)

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