We’re in a temporary return to winter – it was -10 and lightly snowing on our run tonight. When the weather is like this, only a good dose of home cooking can keep you warm (and sane). I needed rich, warm, and melty for dinner to chase away the I’ve-been-cold-all-day blues. That’s where homemade mac and cheese comes in. It satisfies all of those cravings and is easy to make. All you need is a little butter, milk, cheese, flour and a little pasta. Now that I’ve finally found the right recipe, mac and cheese comes out perfect every time. Sometimes I throw in a little fresh spinach, or a can of whole tomatoes for variety, but it’s the sauce that makes it great.
I’m amazed that it actually makes it from the pot to the oven with the number of test tastes that Jonny and I take. The dog refuses to leave the kitchen while the sauce is on the go – he’s on guard in case I dump the pot on the floor. And even the cat loves it. I’m not sure why it’s so much better than other recipes but it’s delicious. I ate two servings tonight – even if I didn’t really need to. You can’t help but feeling better after eating, it almost makes the crummy weather worth while.
Mac and Cheese
This is a double batch – good for two people, a dog and lunch leftovers.
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
3 cups milk
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups grated cheese – a mix of very old cheddar and the usual stuff.
3 cups uncooked pasta
1 cup grated cheese for topping
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling water until just done. Drain and put into an oven proof casserole dish. Add spinach, tomatoes or whatever else you’d like in your pasta.
- Meanwhile, make the sauce by melting the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Wisk in the flour, stirring until smooth. Slowly add the milk, whisking to make it smooth. Add the cheese and stir until all melted. Continue stirring until the mixture starts to bubble. Stir while it simmers for a few minutes then remove from heat.
- Pour the sauce over the cooked pasta and gently stir until mixed. Top with crushed potato chips, buttered bread crumbs, or just the cheese.
- Pop into the oven at 400F for about 15 to 20 minutes or until it bubbles.