Six years ago today, at exactly high noon, Little Miss made her entrance. In her honor I am posting my recipe for her all-time favorite food, macaroni and cheese. Usually when I make this, I use whole wheat macaroni and I add in bits of blanched broccoli, peas, carrots and sometimes corn. Sometimes I’ll add fresh thyme or bits of crispy bacon or little pieces of ham. The shorties are happy enough to eat the macaroni “with stuff”, but what they really want is the “no stuff”, sinful, all-white, gooey macaroni and cheese. This is, in my mind, a special occasion food–which today is, so here you go!
Macaroni and Cheese
- 1/2 cup (1 stick)
- 1/2 cup
- 1/4 tsp.
- 1/2 tsp.
dry mustard powder
- 5 cups
- 2 cups
grated cheese (I like equal parts mozzarella, sharp cheddar and gruyere but you can be creative)
- 1 cup
dry breadcrumbs or pieces of old, stale bread
- 1 clove
- 1 TBLS
- 1 pound
- Preheat oven to 350.
- To make the bechamel, melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and whisk over medium heat. You want to cook out the raw flour flavor, but you don’t want your mixture turning brown–you are aiming for a nice toasted cream color.
- Whisk in the milk. Add the nutmeg, bay, mustard, cayenne, salt and pepper to taste.
- Continue to cook, whisking periodically to avoid scorching, until the sauce has thickened.
- To make the garlicky breadcrumbs, put the garlic, breadcrumbs or pieces of bread, melted butter and salt into a food processor. Process about 15 seconds and season to taste.
- In a large bowl, mix the bechamel sauce, cooked pasta and grated cheeses. Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Put the pasta mixture into a casserole dish and top with garlicky breadcrumbs.
- Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, until bubbly and golden brown.