Mac and Cheese

Eating a healthy helping of delicious mac and cheese at Corrina’s last week made me want to make some of my own this weekend. So I did. [Ha, ha. I just checked corrina’s blog and she posted about mac and cheese too! Plus she linked to all the recipes she’s been lovin’ lately.]

I usually riff off a recipe called “Mom’s Macaroni and Cheese” which is in the Cabbagetown Cafe cookbook (same town as Moosewood Cafe). I’m going to post the recipe in its entirety, and put my own modifications in parentheses. I like to make a big batch – probably two 11×9 pans full – which fills my Pampered Chef Rectangular Baker stoneware (14 cups).

Mom’s Macaroni and Cheese

3/4 uncooked ww macaroni (I use the whole bag – why cook less?)

3/4 c soft bread crumbs (I had some store-bought on hand, so I poured in approx 2 c)

2 tbs butter (didn’t use any)

1/2 # grated Cheddar cheese (I used slightly more than a pound)

1 1/4 c hot milk (I used approx 3 c soy)

1 small onion, finely chopped (I used one huge yellow – and sauteed it very slightly)

1/4 c finely chopped parsley (I can never remember to buy this ingredient… so none)

1/2 tsp salt

sharp mustard, optional (I use several dollops of dijon)

2 eggs (I used 6 eggs)

paprika (Didn’t have any, so I used my old standby: Old Bay Seasoning)

(I add hot sauce, relish, and two grated zucchinis)

1. Cook the macaroni. (I bring the water to boil, add the pasta, cover, and turn off the heat – it’s a great energy-efficient way to cook pasta when it’s doesn’t have to be cooked perfectly.)

2. In a large bowl, combine the bread crumbs, butter, and cheese. Pour in the hot milk. Add the onion, parsely, and salt. At this point, taste. If the sauce is not flavorful or cheesy enough, add whatever you feel is lacking. (This is when I throw in a few squirts of hot sauce, a couple spoonfuls of relish, the dijon, and grated zuccs.)

3. Add the beaten eggs, then the cooked noodles.

4. Pour into a well-buttered medium-size baking dish. Sprinkle with paprika.

5. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until firm and golden brown.

6. For best flavor, allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

This recipe makes a tender, custardy casserole.

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