Mauve Cabinets and a Bottle of Red

My two passions–Food and books

Homemade Mac & Cheese April 26, 2010

J & I had a lazy day today. He worked late last night, and I stayed up watching a movie, so we slept in. We did get some dishes and laundry done, but for the most part, the day was spent killing droids on our favorite video game- Star Wars Battlefront II. We are nerds, what I can say? This just means that I really do need to be productive tomorrow. These past few days of dreary weather have made me into a sloth.

After a long, hard day of doing nothing, especially when it’s cold and rainy, is there anything better than comfort food? Plus, I always have cheese, milk, and pasta in my pantry.

This recipe was really good, J loved it and I’m sure he’ll be begging for this one quite often. It’s smooth and creamy, and I really liked the bread crumb topping, which isn’t really popular around here (our potluck macs usually have cheesy toppings).

This is one of those recipes that you can play around with a little bit. Once you have the base cheese sauce, you can mix and match your spices–tonight I used that sun-dried tomato spice you see me use all the time, and a little nutmeg. Some other night I might use thyme or rosemary. An Italian mix would be good in this as well. Guys, this is the great thing about cooking. You may see me do some fancier recipes on here. But if you’re not comfortable with those yet, grab a few of the simpler ones, get comfortable with them, and mix up the spices. Most groceries carry ALL KINDS of spice combos now, so does Pampered Chef. Play with your food!

mmmm warm and creamy!

Mac & Cheese

Adapted from Ella says Opa!

Topping:

2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1/4 shredded parmesan
1 tsp sun-dried tomato spice mix
2 oz shredded cheddar cheese

Sauce:

1/2 stick butter
3 Tbsp flour
1 tsp nutmeg
2 cups milk
1/2 cup cream
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Salt & Pepper
1 tsp Sun-dried tomato spice mix

1/2 lb elbow macaroni pasta

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

For the topping–Mix together all the ingredients in a small bowl with a fork. Set aside for later.

Boil water, salt. Add pasta. Cook for only 3/4 the recommended time. Pasta should be VERY al dente, so it does not get soggy while baking.

In a Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and nutmeg, and continue whisking over heat for about 3 minutes until slightly browned.

Slowly whisk in milk and cream. Bring to boil, then lower heat to medium low and simmer for 3-4 minutes, until thickened.

Add handful of cheese, whisk until smooth. Add more cheese, whisk until smooth. Continue until all cheese is added. Add mustard, Worcester, and spices; stir until smooth. Add macaroni. Sprinkle topping over the pasta.

Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes, until topping is golden brown.

**Note–If you don’t have a Dutch oven, you can make the sauce in a large sauce pan, then transfer everything to a baking dish before putting it in the oven.

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