Wednesday Food: Mac n' Cheese

For a couple of white kids from the far North, we seem to make a lot of southern-style food.  But trust me, this recipe is a huge improvement from what Eric and I grew up eating!  I won't name names, but one of our parents thought mac n' cheese was mixing shredded cheese, milk and cooked macaroni.  Oh No - Thank culinary school for showing us the way!

This was where we had some knockout mac n' cheese & I was able to experience the true comfort of this awesome dish.  Literally... it helped me get over my toughest hangover of college - now that's comfort!  But whenever my friend JB (of Treats on Washington) would make mac n' cheese, she knew I would come running for it!  To this day I have not had mac n' cheese as good as hers!  

I'm starting off easy with a simple recipe, then maybe I will get more creative with it.  But lets get our basics down first, shall we??

Mac N' Cheese - makes 1 casserole dish, preheat oven to 350 degrees

1 # of macaroni (we used cavatappi, feel free to use any kind of interesting shape)
about 4 Tbsp. butter, unsalted
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
about 1/4c. all purpose flour
1 qt. 2% or whole milk, DO NOT use skim!
12 oz. medium sharp cheese, freshly* grated
Salt and pepper, to taste
       * DO NOT use packaged grated cheese.  They have many additives so that it doesn't stick together and will make your sauce really gross.  Break out that grater, it's worth it!!

1) Bring a pot of water to boil.  Don't forget to add some salt!  And boil the macaroni until al dente.  Hold aside till the sauce is done.

2) Saute the onions and garlic with the butter till slightly browned on a medium heat.  Add the flour to make a roux, which will help thicken the sauce.  Stir frequently and cook till a nutty scent comes off the roux, about 6-7 minutes.

3) Add the milk and stir with a whisk.  Cook till the sauce boils and thickens.  Slowly whisk in the grated cheese, but save about a handful for the top of the casserole.  Stir till the cheese has melted and is smooth.  Taste and don't forget the salt and pepper!


4) Stir the macaroni and cheese sauce together and put in the casserole dish.  Top with the remaining handful of cheese, spread it out evenly.  Bake till the cheese has melted & edges start to bubble.  MMMmmmm, cheesy goodness!

OOOoo, that looks good, I'm getting hungry!  We made this as a side dish with some roasted BBQ pork and sauteed collard greens.  Now that was some tasty dinner!  We used Dinosaur BBQ sauce which comes from a BBQ joint in Syracuse, NY. 

Yet another winter meal to keep us warm. Remember when the kitchen gets too hot, get back in there and warm up!  It's cold outside!!


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