Sunday, March 18, 2007

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

There came a point where in my life where I had to admit to myself that cheese should not come in powder. And while I still enjoy the sporatic box of Kraft Mac&Cheese, I have since moved on to a more grown up form of Mac&Cheese which is only a little bit more difficult to make and can be made even if your kitchen is almost completely bare. I'm going to put in both a very specific recipe and a much more general recipe so you can have some general guidelines of things to make sure you have.
This recipe came from my first vegetarian cookbook Ok, So Now You're A Vegetarian, by Lauren Butts. It's a great book for anyone you know who just became a vegetarian, particularly if they're in high school.
4 tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups skim milk
2 1/2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups dry elbow macaroni
Salt & Pepper
Breadcrumbs (optional)
Oven at 350
Large pot
Frying pan or saucepan
8x8 glass baking dish
1. Boil some water and cook up the Macaroni. When the Macaroni is about half done, start the sauce. When the macaroni is all done, just drain it and set it aside - since this is baked, it's okay if it gets a little cold.
2. In the small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.
3. Whisk the flour and salt into the butter. This will form a paste, but don't be afraid.
4. Gradually whisk in the milk and simmer for 4-6 minutes, stirring. The sauce will become thick - about the consistency of slightly melted ice cream. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Add half of the cheddar cheese and melt it in.
6. Pour the cooked macaroni into the baking dish.
7. Pour the sauce over the macaroni and stir to ensure all macaroni is coated.
8. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. (I actually like to stir the remaining cheese into the macaroni until it melts a little bit, and then top with breadcrumbs.)

This is a really easy recipe to make larger or smaller, and I'll be posting one of my other favorite mac&cheese recipes at a later time. Also, it gives you lots of leftovers for the week!

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