baked macaroni & cheese

You all are in for a treat! Today, I am sharing my baked macaroni and cheese recipe. This is the recipe I learned from my grandmother and mother, with a little twist, and it is fabulous.

You’ll need: 1/2-1lb pasta (I didn’t have elbows, so I used mostaccioli rigate), 1/2 stick butter, flour (about 1/4 cup), milk (fatfree, about 1 cup or so), and cheese (I’m using one block of extra sharp white cheddar and the remains of a block of extra sharp yellow cheddar. I like cheddar). Yes, those are goldfish crackers in the background. Whole grain. You know, because we’re being healthy.

Butter a casserole dish.

Bring salted water to a boil for the pasta and cook according to pacakge directions. We like things super al dente here, so I cooked it for 8 minutes, instead of the 10-12 as instructed. Don’t forget, this will get another cooking in the oven so you want it a little less cooked than what you would normally do.

Shred up all your cheese. Mmm. Cheese.

Melt 1/2 stick butter in a saucepan. Add about 1/4 cup of flour and combine with a wooden spoon.

This will make a roux, which is the base of your cheese sauce.

Add about a cup of milk and blend together until smooth. Pepper and salt to taste and continue heating and stirring until the base thickens up.

See? Nice and thick and smooth.

Which means you get to add in about 2/3 of the cheese. Yum. Slowly mix together so cheese melts. into the butter/flour/milk base.

Drain the pasta and return to the original pot.

Give your cheese sauce one last stir to make sure all lumps are gone.

And then pour it over the pasta.

Mix pasta and sauce together until pasta is coated thoroughly. Doesn’t that look divine? But it’s not ready yet.

Pour half the pasta mixture into the casserole dish. Sprinkle with half of the remaining cheese, like so.

Repeat with the remaining pasta and cheese, and then top with goldfish crackers. I used to top with buttered bread crumbs, but saw the goldfish idea on Dinner: Impossible and thought it was cute. You can go either way. Regardless, there needs to be some crunch.

Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes until the goldfish are nice and toasty and the cheese is gooey and melty.

Dig in!

If you have leftovers, please, I beg you, DO NOT MICROWAVE THEM. Instead, put your portion in a pan with a little bit of milk and heat slowly, mixing until heated through and milk is absorbed by the pasta. I assure you, this is the only way to go.

Mr PugRunner loves this mac & cheese. We all do. 🙂 Enjoy.

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