Mac and Cheese

My mac and cheese has been known to sell houses.

Last year, when our house was on the market, I was making a batch of mac and cheese. When it was just due to come out of the oven, the potential buyers showed up (early), so I took it out and left it on the stovetop with a warning to the broker that it was hot.

They could barely stand to leave the kitchen because the mac and cheese smelled so good, and yes, they ended up buying the house.

This year, we were supposed to be in our new apartment in Nice on the day I’m writing this.

But we’re not.

And I’m sad.

And the cheese drawer in the fridge was overflowing with small bits, so it was time to fire up some comfort food.

I’m pretty loose with my mac and cheese, but here are my basics:

Mac and Cheese

  • 2 cups macaroni cooked to just barely done. (I used my Fasta Pasta for 10 minutes and that was perfect) and drained
  • 2 cups grated cheese. Use what odds and ends you have or go for a fave, it’s all good. For softer cheeses like chèvre and blues, I just crumble them into the mix.
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup flour
  • 2 cups milk, warmed
  • Salt and preferably white pepper
  • Dusting of freshly grated nutmeg
  • Breadcrumbs and/or fried onion rings for topping (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly grease a large gratin pan and set aside.

If you haven’t cooked the pasta, start cooking it.

Grate the cheeses and set them aside.

In a large, heavy-bottom pot melt the butter over medium-low heat. When the butter is melted, whisk in the flour until it’s all combined. The mixture will start to thicken.

Still whisking, add the warm milk. The sauce will be thin at first and then start to thicken. When it’s thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, remove from the heat and stir in your cheeses. Add the cooked macaroni and stir to combine.

Pour the mac and cheese mixture into your gratin pan, top with breadcrumbs and/or onion rings.

Bake for 30 minutes, until the top is golden brown and bubbly. Serve and enjoy!

My Verdict:

Frank was never a mac and cheese lover until he had mine. What’s tough for him (but he’ll survive) is that he always wants to know what’s in it and I can never tell him. Today’s had some gruyere, a bit of honey chèvre, some tiny bits of a couple of blues, a small piece of something from Cowgirl Creamery, another unknown hard cheese and a 1″ chunk of cheddar.

I’ve started using these fried onions that I got at my local Asian market. The owner said his kids just eat them straight from the container. I decided to toss some on top—an homage to my dad who always topped his mac and cheese with fried onions.


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