Sunday, March 11, 2007

Easy Mac & Cheese

I hesitate to call this a recipe, because it is about the easiest thing a person could ever cook. However, I decided to share it because there are so many intricate recipes out there for macaroni and cheese, recipes requiring bechamel sauces and grated cheese and all sorts of troublesome complications. It is no wonder so many people eat the boxed junk. Although if I am going to be truthful, I must admit a fondness for Annie's organic mac & cheese, cooked with frozen peas. But this homemade mac & cheese is a major comfort food for me; I went through periods as a kid where it was the only thing I would deign to eat. That and "yellow pancakes."

16 ounces macaroni
16 ounces cheddar
1 quart milk
The mac & cheese I grew up on was made with elbow macaroni, but as you can see, I have switched to cellentani. It is pretty much the same thing, only with a few extra twists just for fun. I am quite particular about the cheddar I use: it must be extra sharp, and it absolutely, positively cannot be dyed that ridiculous orange color that is so prevalent. I made this recipe once while living in Minnesota, where the closest white cheddar was 35 miles away in a very expensive little health food store, and it looked so disgusting with the orange cheese I could barely choke it down. Cheese is not naturally orange, people! And the 1 quart of milk is somewhat of an approximation, I think it is actually somewhat less.

Boil water and cook the pasta al dente. While the macaroni is cooking, slice up the cheese.

Preheat the oven to 350ish.

Dump the cooked pasta into a large casserole dish and cram most of the sliced cheddar down into the pasta. Reserve some cheese to go on top.

Almost done!

Now just put a layer of cheese across the top, and add the milk. The milk should almost reach the top, but not quite.

This takes a while to bake, at least 45 minutes to an hour or more. Check on it when the whole house starts smelling good. The cheese should turn bubbly and golden brown. I should warn my delicate readers that if not cooked enough, the macaroni and cheese can be sort of soupy from all the milk. This effect disappears by the next day when you go to eat the leftovers. It can also be ameliorated by tossing the whole thing back in the oven and cooking it some more. I should also warn you that this makes a lot of food. Unless you have a big family, plan on eating it for several days. When I make this recipe nowadays, it is usually on a Sunday, and I eat it for lunch all week. Enjoy the cheesy goodness!


Nadine said...

Yummy! I want some!

Molecular Turtle said...

That's awesome. I think I'll try it. Thanks for sharing!

Casey said...

That looks so good!

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

I must have made this exact recipe 1000 times or more, LOL! Yummy good, but something I can't eat any more due to my allergies. ENJOY!

Jenny F. Scientist said...

I made it this way for the spouse once! He enjoyed it lots. Tragically, I suffer from a milk allergy. Sigh. Now I'm hungry...

Woman Warrior said...

if i can find real cheese, i'm totally going to make that... Even though I'm sans oven, I'll find a way!

elenajoyce said...

I just made what I guess I could term Unnecessarily Difficult Mac & Cheese earlier today - if only I had read this post four hours ago! When I am next fixin' for a vat of the stuff, I'll try this version.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Making this for Biker Buddy for his birthday--it's what he ASKED for!

I got into that yummy extra sharp cheddar cheese so I hope I don't get sick!