Friday, June 25, 2010

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

This is our all time favorite Mac 'n' Cheese recipe. For years we ate either boxed stuff, or a velveeta base Macaroni, but when we started changing the way we cooked and ate, we started looking for a real cheese recipe. The problem was, every single recipe we tried was gritty... real cheese just didn't work nearly as well as processed for a nice smooth sauce. We were over at a friends house one day and they made a delicious baked mac and cheese that was creamy but not overly rich, no hint of grittiness and all around yummy. We've made this A LOT since then and I've made quite a few alterations, so here's my version! I've added a few notes below on the ingredients I use... do tell me if you try the recipe, and what alterations you make!
We try to eat meat with our Macaroni and Cheese, especially when I make it for dinner, add cooked (it can be cold) meat in as you stir the pasta and sauce together. Bacon Sprinkled over the top is my favorite, but my family prefers hamburger or smoked sausage.


The Cheese listed is just a guideline, you can use any combination you like (Last night I used sharp and colby jack, and I often use medium and colby). But after much testing of different cheese combinations, we found that Sharp and Monterey is by far the most flavorful combination. Also, feel free to use all purpose flour. I love the flavor the whole wheat gives the sauce, but it's completely optional.

A note on the pasta - Elbow Macaroni is obviously the most traditional choice, but I like to experiment with different types of pasta, and how they change the texture of the dish.
We have found the Bowtie (or Farfalle) is the best choice for this dish, simply because the sauce clings to the pasta better than traditional macaroni.
Cellentani is also a fun pasta to try, it's a larger twistier version of elbow macaroni, and great fun for kids. Two of my other favorites to use are shells and Rotini

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

3 ½ cups uncooked pasta of choice

½ cup butter

¾ whole wheat pastry flour

2 cups whole milk

1 ½ cups sour cream

1-2 tablespoons heavy cream (optional)

Garlic Salt, Onion Salt, Salt and Pepper

1 cup Sharp Cheddar

½ cup Monterey Jack

Cook pasta according to directions on package. Drain and rinse.

In a medium sauce pan melt butter an stir in flour. Gradually add milk, sour cream, cream, cheese and seasonings. Stir over low heat until mixture is thick and bubbly.

Place pasta in a 9 x 13 baking dish. Pour cheese sauce over the pasta, and stir. Bake at 350* for 30 minutes Add an extra handful of cheese over the top about 10 minutes before you serve.


1 comment:

Martha A. said...

Sounds yummy!