I make macaroni and cheese differently every time but the basics are the same. You need good cheese, some sort of dairy based sauce, and an al dente pasta (I specifically said bowties in the title because Pat hates it when I say macaroni and cheese when it’s a different pasta).
This time I started with about 3 cups of a few different types of cheddar, a sharp cheddar from New England and a New Zealand raw milk cheddar this time. I took 2 cups of whole milk and began heating it at the same time I started a roux. I took 2 tbsp butter and heated until it began to foam and added 2 tbsp of flour to make a slurry. You want to make sure the flour and butter are thoroughly mixed and the flour is cooked all the way. Raw flour is not tasty in a cheese sauce. I added the roux to the milk to thicken it. I like to grate a few tsp of nutmeg into the sauce to give it a nice flavor.
At the same time, the water boiled and I cooked the pasta for about 6 min. I like to undercook the pasta so it doesn’t get too mushy when you bake it.
I added the cheese to the sauce reserving a few tbsp for the top. I then tossed the pasta into the sauce and poured all of it into my nifty 1970’s casserole dish. I received this dish from a friend’s mom when I moved into my first apartment after college. It had been her mother’s that she found in her crawl space in it’s original box, unopened.
I added a little cheese on top and popped it into the oven at 350F for about a half hour, covered. I don’t like a crunchy top but if you do I would uncover it for the last 5 to 10 minutes. Once my mom left the temperature off of a casserole recipe she wrote for me, when I called her she said everyone knew you bake everything at 350F. Its pretty good advice that works 90% of the time.
Comfort food at its best.