Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Creamy Macaroni & Cheese
Sometimes, a girl just needs some food for her soul.
Long days (and extra days) at work during the busy season, illness in the family, too many deadlines and obligations, a few crises thrown in to keep from getting bored ... it takes a toll. We've all been there. I know everyone is nodding in agreement.
So a dish like macaroni and cheese is precisely what is needed. Warm, rich, gooey, soothing - consummate comfort.
The seasoned bread crumbs add some texture and a boost of flavor; though really, when you're using an entire pound of cheese to make your sauce, you hardly need much more to make a dish great!
While we all have a perverse affection for the mac 'n' cheese in the famous blue box, it's so easy to make a homemade version that there's just no need to resort to dehydrated stuff. Just be sure not to bake this, as that dries it out; the key to its creaminess is to simply immerse the pasta in the sauce and let the two dance happily together without any further intervention.
Creamy Macaroni & Cheese
1 pound penne
4 tablespoons + 3 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons unbleached flour
2 cups 2% milk
4 ounces Swiss cheese, shredded
4 ounces mild cheddar cheese, shredded
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon Mrs. Dash or other seasoning
1/2 cup whole grain crackers, crushed
Prepare penne according to package directions; drain.
In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in milk and cook until sauce is thickening. Slowly whisk in all of the cheese until sauce is smooth, then whisk in the mustard.
Combine penne and cheese; place into a 9"x13" serving dish.
In a small skillet, melt remaining butter; remove from heat. Add seasoning and cracker crumbs; combine well. Sprinkle crumbs over the macaroni and cheese, and serve immediately.
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