I could go on and write for pages about my love of mac & cheese. I.Love.Cheese. I love melty, salty cheese. Throw in some soft, chewy pasta and you just can’t beat it. Kids love it. Adults love it. We eat plenty of the boxed kind… not gonna lie but every now and then I get the motivation to make it from scratch and it’s always a treat. It’s really quite easy since I stumbled upon this recipe from Pioneer Woman. This is one of the few recipes I stick to pretty strictly… well except mine is gluten free!! But I’ll explain how to make it either way.
Start by shredding some cheese. Don’t use pre shredded for this. If you’re going to put in the effort… go all the way! I’m sure everyone could argue their case for almost every kind of cheese out there so I suggest you try whatever you like and experiment the next time. I like a good melting cheese so I started with some Havarti…
I gotta have some cheddar in there to so I rounded out the pound of cheese with some marbled cheddar. Try to refrain from eating too much at this point… you need to save room for the finished product!
Whisk that all together and let it cook until it thickens. A good way to know how thick it is will be to stir with your wooden spoon and then look at the back of the spoon. If there is a “film” on the spoon it is thickening nicely.
Now, you need to temper your egg. This means taking about 1/4 cup of the hot mixture and drizzling it slowly into the beaten egg while quickly continuing to beat the egg. This will bring up the temperature of the egg without scrambling it. Scrambled egg mac & cheese… not so amazing…
Whisk until smooth and then do what you know is the right thing to do… get a spoon and get yourself a taste. This is important for more that just stopping your drool… you need to make sure it has enough salt, pepper… everything.
Notice how suddenly all the worries of the day are starting to fade… the stresses are melting down your shoulders… your stomach is grumbling… that’s normal. Give it all a good stir to coat all those noodles and get inside.
Pour all this magic into a large baking dish or several ramekins. Cover with some additional shredded cheese. I realized I was halfway into this process before I remembered to take a pic… not sure why I was so excited 😉
The weather is getting cool and this is an amazing comfort food for a nice cool fall night. Give it a shot… what could go wrong?!?!
Mac & Cheese
4 cups dried macaroni
1/4 cup flour (or gluten free or corn starch equivalent)
1/4 cup butter
2 1/2 cups milk
2 tsp dry mustard
1 egg, beaten
1 lb shredded cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
1 tsp black pepper
Melt butter in heavy pot over medium heat. Add in flour and whisk until smooth. Allow to cook about 5 minutes, whisking. Start cooking pasta. Beat egg. Pour in milk, add mustard, and whisk until smooth. Cook for 5 minutes until thick. Reduce to low. Take 1/4 cup sauce & temper egg. Add egg mixture to milk mixture, whisking to combine. Add in cheese and seasonings. Whisk until smooth. Taste to check seasonings. Add in cooked and drained pasta. Stir to combine. Dump into baking dish or ramekins. Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Bake at 350 until cheese is melted and bubbly. Let set for a couple minutes out of the oven and serve!