Comfort food. We all have that one meal we go to when it’s been a rough week. Mine is macaroni and cheese. Usually the kind out of a box (I’m lazy when it comes to real cooking), Kraft or Pastaroni depending on my mood.
However, after a truly awful day, only homemade will do. So when I had a terrible Saturday, I felt the extra work on Sunday would be well worth it. Plus then I would have dinner for the whole week and not have to worry about cooking anything during the last week of classes.
This is the recipe my mom uses, so in addition to being warm, filling, and delicious, it also reminds me of home. It’s a bit time consuming, but not difficult so don’t be intimidated by the long directions. If I, someone who kind of hates all cooking that doesn’t involve dessert, can make it without issue, so can you.
This recipe serves 4-6 depending on how much you eat and how many side dishes you have; goes great with steamed vegetables and a fruit salad. If you have big eaters or want leftovers, double the recipe and use a 9×13” dish. To reheat, put a splash of milk in the bowl, heat in the microwave, and give it a good stir.
Macaroni & CheeseFrom Martha Stewart
3 slices good-quality white bread
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for dish
2 3/4 cups milk
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 1/4 cups (about 9 ounces) grated sharp white cheddar
1 cup (about 4 ounces) grated Gruyere or 5/8 cup (about 2.5 ounces) grated pecorino Romano
1 pound elbow macaroni
- Heat the oven to 375°F. Butter an 8×8” casserole dish; set aside.
- Remove crusts from bread and cut or tear into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces. Place bread pieces in a bowl.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Pour butter into the bowl with bread, and toss. Set the breadcrumbs aside.
- In a small saucepan set over medium heat, heat milk until thoroughly warmed.
- Melt remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When butter bubbles, add flour. Cook, stirring, 1 minute.
- Slowly pour hot milk into flour-butter mixture while whisking. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick.
- Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 1 3/4 cups cheddar, and 3/4 cup Gruyere or 1/2 cup pecorino Romano. Set cheese sauce aside.
- Fill a large saucepan with water. Bring to a boil. Add macaroni; cook 2 to 3 fewer minutes than manufacturer’s directions, until outside of pasta is cooked and inside is underdone. (Different brands of macaroni cook at different rates; be sure to read the instructions.) Transfer the macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well.
- Stir macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle on remaining cheese; scatter breadcrumbs over the top.
- Bake until browned on top, about 30 minutes. Cool for 5-10 minutes on a wire rack before serving.
Notes: Unless your stove boils water super fast, I would start the water for the macaroni before step 5.