16 February, 2013
Classic Mac and Cheese
Serves: 4 as a main dish, 8 as a side dish
½ pound (about 2 cups uncooked) macaroni
Water for boiling the macaroni
3 slices of day old bread
5 Tablespoons butter, divided
1 small Vidalia onion, finely chopped (about ¼ – ½ cup)
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
½ teaspoon salt
Speck of pepper
1 Tablespoon all purpose flour
2 cups of milk (I use 2% milk but whole milk is OK)
1 ½ cups shredded Cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 400°
Bring water to a rapid boil in a large saucepan, reduce heat to medium and add the macaroni. Cook for 10 minutes. Drain the macaroni and set aside.
Meanwhile, make fresh bread crumbs and start the cheese sauce.
Remove the crusts, if preferred, and cut the bread slices into small cubes, about ¼ inches. Set aside.
Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the onions and stir while heating. Once the onion bits turn clear, add mustard, salt and pepper, and then slowly stir in the flour to make a paste.
Slowly stir in the milk and cook over low heat until smooth and hot, stirring often to not burn on the bottom.
Slowly add about 1 cup of the Cheddar cheese to the milk mixture, stir until the cheese is melted. Remove from heat.
Lightly grease or spray a 2 ½ quart casserole dish. Pour the cooked and drained macaroni noodles into the casserole dish, and slowly pour the cheese sauce over the macaroni, stirring to coat all the noodles. Scatter the remaining ½ cup of Cheddar cheese across the top of the macaroni and cheese mixture.
In a small saucepan, melt the 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Remove from heat and add the cubed fresh breadcrumbs, tossing to coat the crumbs with butter. Spoon the breadcrumbs over the top of the macaroni and cheese in a single layer.
Bake at 400° uncovered, for 20 minutes.
A nice addition is 4 slices of cooked bacon, crumbled, sprinkled on the top with the bread crumbs.
A different option is to thinly slice a fresh tomato and place the slices over the top before adding the remaining cheese slices and breadcrumbs or in place of the bread crumbs.