I’ve been on a major comfort food kick lately. I suspect that has something to do with the change of seasons. The drop in temps is signaling to my body that it’s time to add a layer of insulation in preparation for winter ~ which I need like a hole in the head, but that’s another story.
What dish is more comforting that macaroni in cheese? It certainly tops my list. I recently made a batch using the recipe that follows. This is the best recipe that I have ever used ~ the result is rich and creamy, with a little bit of zing due to the cayenne pepper, and a wonderful flavor that is created by the addition of garlic. It really is interesting how there are so many variations on this simple dish out there. This version is by no means low fat ~ serve it on the holidays and it is sure to impress. Mac and cheese is filling, substantial and relatively inexpensive to make (and I’m not referring to the kind that comes in the blue box here). This recipe yields a pretty decent amount, so if you’re making it for one or two there are bound to be leftovers ~ and it tastes just as good, if not better, the second time around.
Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
2 cups half-and-half
2 cups milk
2 (10 ounce) packages sharp cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
1 (10 ounce) package extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 (16 ounce) package elbow macaroni, cooked
In a big skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat.
Whisk the flour in gradually until the mixture is smooth.
Cook and whisk continually for 2 minutes.
Add in salt, pepper, cayenne, and garlic; stir to combine.
Gradually whisk in half-and-half and milk.
Cook and whisk continually for 8-10 minutes or until mixture is thickened.
Add in half of the sharp cheddar cheese; stir.
Add in all of the extra-sharp cheddar cheese; stir until smooth.
Take skillet off stove burner.
Mix together the cooked macaroni and cheese mixture; transfer to a greased 13x9 inch casserole dish.
Sprinkle with the remaining sharp cheddar cheese.
Bake in a 350° oven for 20 minutes, or until the top is crispy.