Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Homemade Mac & Cheese

We really love this macaroni and cheese. It takes a little more time than the boxed stuff, but it is a million times better!

8 oz elbow macaroni
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour (I use wheat)
2 cups milk (I use whole)
8 oz shredded cheddar (I like the Cheddar Jack preshredded mix)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (I use just a tiny dash of cayenne pepper)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cook the pasta according to the package (usually about 8-10 minutes depending on if you get the regular or the large).

I use my big pot for making the sauce too, less to clean up and it actually cooks the sauce faster than a smaller sauce pan.  I usually wipe out the dried pasta water residue, then add the butter and melt on medium heat.  Add the flour and whisk for about 2-3 minutes.

This is the tricky part, slowly add the milk while whisking.  I usually add about 1/4 cup and whisk until smooth.  Then another 1/4 cup and whisk.  By about 3/4 to 1 cup of milk you can add the rest more quickly while you are still whisking.  The smoother you make it in the beginning, the better it will turn out.  Cook on medium to medium high for about 5 minutes or until it begins to thicken.

Remove from heat and stir in the spices then most of the cheese (save a little for on top-I usually forget and just get a little more to go on top).  Stir until cheese is melted.  Then add the pasta (most bags of pasta are bigger than 8 oz, don't add too much or your mac & cheese won't be very saucy).  Put in a lightly greased pan or several small ones.  Top with the remaining cheese.

Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, until bubbly and the cheese on top begins to brown a bit. Let it rest for about 10-15 minutes after pulling it out of the oven or it will be too hot to eat.

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