Macaroni & Cheese

I was never a fan of home-style mac & cheese growing up. It always tasted floury to me. This one solves that problem, and adds some kick if you like that sort of thing. I grew up in a margarine house, so I rarely use butter, but this is a recipe that really wants butter instead of margarine.

Makes 4-6 servings

1 pound uncooked macaroni (or other thick pasta, like penne)
¼ cup unsalted butter
2 ½ cups milk
½ cup all purpose flour
½ tsp ground cayenne pepper (optional – measurement to taste)
1 tsp chilli flakes (option – measurement to taste)
¼ tsp ground black Pepper (measurement to taste)
1 ½ cups old cheddar cheese*
½ cup mozzarella cheese*
+ Whatever other cheese you have lying around in the fridge; Swiss works well, as does soft goats cheese. Pretty much any cheese you like will work.

Measure your pasta by putting the uncooked pasta into the oven-safe casserole dish you plan on using. It should take up exactly half the space. If it is more, you won’t have room in your casserole.
Cook the pasta in salted water until still just a bit hard (extra al dente). Put the cooked pasta in the casserole, mix in a small amount of butter or margarine and stir (to prevent pasta from sticking). Cover and let sit while you do other stuff.

In a medium sized pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour slowly, stirring the entire time. Once the flour is mixed with the butter add the milk. Stir often. Add black pepper. Add cayenne and chili flakes if you want some kick. Keep stirring. Bring the sauce to a low boil and boil over medium/low heat until the sauce has the desired consistency (about ten minutes for me).

While the sauce is boiling down, grate your cheeses. You weren’t silly enough to pay for pre-shredded cheese were you? Good, didn’t think so. It’s pretty easy to grate the cheese and keep on top of the stirring at the same time.

Once the sauce has boiled down to the desired consistency, remove from heat and stir in one cup of the grated cheddar cheese. Mix thoroughly and pour the sauce over the pasta in your casserole. Stir that a bit and then add in the rest of your non-cheddar cheeses. I try to keep the different cheeses a bit separate so the tastes don’t mix all together, but rather each bite tastes of a different cheese. Stir it all together, top with the remaining cheddar cheese, put a lid on it, and toss it in the oven at 350F for 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven, and enjoy cheesy rich soul food.  Put any leftovers into tupperware type containers for lunches.

* I’ve only done this with the cheap kraft / cracker barrel stuff, which worked fine. I expect you could use less of a stronger cheese.

I originally posted this recipe to the MrMoneyMustache forum. There are plenty of good recipes being posted up there.

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