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.


Karen Harris said...

This is absolutely the perfect comfort food. Everyone has their own version and I love yours. You are right, it is hard to improve on perfection but adding some crumbs on top just make it all the better. Yum!

Cranberry Morning said...

Sounds like things have been a little rough. Thinking of you...

Yummy recipe. I love the addition of Dijon mustard!

Unknown said...

one pound of cheese. OMG.

Comfort food for hard times.

Liesel Wardle said...

Dear Mary, I already commented on Yahoo's facebook, I'm sure you noticed - but I've to agree, Mac & Cheese is soul food! Love, Liesel:)

Karen Mortensen said...

I will be expecting mine by overnight mail in the morning. LOL

Unknown said...

You had me at creamy..... :)

Candace said...

Mac and Cheese is the ultimate comfort food. The yummy crumbs on top are perfect. I'm keeping you and yours in my thoughts and prayers. *hugs*

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