This is a family favorite and is part of Mom’s legacy. Mom had a deep love for cooking and was always trying new recipes and styles of cooking. Bon Appetit, Better Homes and Gardens, and The Joy of Cooking cookbooks could always be found around the house in various stages of cleanliness. I still have a few of her her staple cookbooks along with her recipe box. She is the reason I never see a recipe as a strict guideline. When she became too ill to work in the kitchen, she still found a way to help cook. She would sit at the kitchen table and read recipes to Dad and direct him while he put it all together.
This is just a basic macaroni and cheese recipe, but the key to this is technique, and the sauce, and the cheese. Lots of cheese.
I make this for special occasions, holidays, etc. and it always disappears within minutes. I don’t think I’ve ever had leftovers. I always loved the “crispies” (browned cheese on top and at the edges) as a kid, and my own children still grab them when I make it, even though they’re all grown up and in their 20s. Enjoy!
2 C (ish, I usually grate just a touch more) Sharp Cheddar Cheese
2 C milk
¼ C butter
¼ C flour
1 8 oz. package macaroni
Cook macaroni as directed on package, set aside.
Melt butter slowly over low to medium heat.
Once melted, remove from heat and add flour to make a paste, stirring constantly.
Stir in milk slowly.
Return to heat and stir until thick (Usually about the time you think your arm’s going to fall off).
Add seasonings to taste.
In a large baking dish, layer cooked macaroni, then cheese; repeat until out of cheese and macaroni.
Sprinkle more cheese over the top if you want.
Pour sauce evenly over top.
Bake at 350° for approximately 30 minutes.
Salt and pepper to taste.
I always double this recipe, and it still disappears fast!
Sometimes I get all fancy shmancy and use a blend of three cheeses: sharp cheddar, parmesan and gruyere (Do your own experiment and try different cheeses!)
You can play with the amounts of the ingredients for the sauce to get it to your preferred thickness. Some people like it soupier than others.
Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the top before cooking if you must, I am a purist.