No, this is not a photo of mac and cheese, nor is the even the type of pasta I use for mac and cheese. This is a placeholder photo so I could post the recipe per my daughter’s request without having to shop for ingredients, make the dish, and photograph it.
There are so many mac and cheese recipes and I haven’t found “the best” one yet. My daughter doesn’t like baked mac and cheese so this is her favorite version.
Macaroni and Cheese, adapted from Everyday Food
- 3 T. butter
- 1/2 onion
- 1/3 c. flour
- 4 c. whole milk
- 1/8 t. cayenne pepper
- 3/4 lb. small shells or macaroni (that’s what the recipe says. are you kidding me? just throw in the whole bag of pasta)
- 4 c. grated sharp cheese (your choice. Cheddar is the obvious choice but sometimes I throw in some Pepper-Jack for extra bite.)
- 1 t. dijon mustard
- 1 t. Worcestershire sauce
1) Boil water for pasta and cook pasta according to package directions. If you’re like me, you’ll cook the pasta in your large Dutch oven, then while the pasta’s draining in the colander, make the sauce in the same Dutch oven, add the pasta back in, and voila – a one pot meal. Unless you count the colander.
2) Prep work. Chop your onion. Grate your cheese. Measure out your milk. Yes, you can buy pre-grated cheese — the Good Enough Gourmet will never judge you for finding a shortcut. But I don’t like the weird coating on the pre-grated cheese, plus you can buy higher quality cheese if you grate it yourself. Once I even bought horseradish cheddar – yum!
3) Melt the butter over medium heat and add the chopped onions. Cook until softened, then add the flour and 1/2 t. salt. Stir until flour thickens and the mixture turns a golden color and smells slightly nutty.
4) Add milk (2 cupfuls at a time, particularly if you have a 2 cup measuring cup!) and cayenne, whisking until smooth. Cook until boiling, stirring frequently, then reduce heat to low and simmer until sauce is thick (about 10 minutes).
5) Remove sauce from heat. Stir in cheese, mustard, and Worcestershire.
6) Add pasta to the cheese sauce, stir to coat, and reheat if necessary.
As a side note, I bet the pasta in the picture would be delicious in mac and cheese. Plus it comes in a 12 oz. bag instead of 16 oz., so I use it for all my recipes that call for less than a pound of pasta.