Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Mac and Cheese
A few months ago, my sister and I went out together and her teenage daughter graciously took care of my two eldest children until they could be picked up by Papa on his way home from work. Only about an hour...but one to look forward to anyway.
On the drive there, five year old Corynn said "Mama. Will we get to stay for SUPPER? Because Samantha makes the best supper ever!"
Curious, I asked what the best supper ever would be classified as.
"Oh you know...those noodly things. With the cheese?!"
At that moment I thought to myself. "Golly. My all-American children haven't ever had macaroni and cheese BEFORE?! That is just SAD."
I don't get the box mixes from the grocery but homemade versions never really floated my boat. But that has now changed.
I vowed at that moment, that I was going to conquer the macaroni. As I tested things, I realized that my palette rejects the crumb topping on some mac and cheeses. I also realized that when it comes to mac and cheese, LOTS of cheese is a must. Finally, I discovered that creating a white sauce turned cheese-sauce was way better than just mixing up cheese and letting it melt.
Here. Let me show you. Here is how it is done.
(PS. Pardon the awful pictures. Odd colored ham doesn't really make ME salivate. It was just the lighting, which STINKS in my house in the middle of winter. When I make this again, if I remember, I will update the photo into something so visually appealing you will be drooling over the keyboard.)
About 12 oz. Macaroni
.....Prepare as directed and set aside.
~1 small onion, chopped
~2 T. butter
....Saute the onion in the butter until it is translucent
~1 T. flour
....Add to onion and butter mixture and stir until flour is coating onions and turning golden.
~1 2/3 c. heavy cream (yeah. you CAN use regular milk, but WHY?!?)
....Slowly add cream (or milk) to the flour-y mixture of onion and stir. Allow to boil over medium-high heat until thickened.
Add salt and pepper to taste, and if you are feeling exotic, sprinkle some cayenne pepper in there too.
now, brace yourselves....
3 cups shredded cheese. ( I like to use a variation of cheeses and that variation almost always includes jalepeno cheese. It really enhances the flavor.)
If you like creamy creamy macaroni and cheese, add the full three cups of shredded cheese to the prepared white sauce...let melt ( always stirring), add to the pasta and cook for just a moment or two more, until it is all melded and the pasta re-warmed. Then feel free to snarf.
If you like baked macaroni with a bit of a cheesy crust here and there, add two cups of cheese to the white sauce and stir until melted. Mix with cooked pasta (which is now in an oven safe pan) and sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top. Bake until golden on top in a 350 degree oven (about 15 minutes)