Southern Style Macaroni and Cheese Recipe So Good It'll Make You Want To Slap Your Grandmama!
It's About Heritage
The first thing y'all need to understand about this recipe is I'm from the South. Part of being from the South means you realize that there are five food groups...macaroni and cheese is the fifth. Every little girl (and some little boys) in the South learn at their mama's knee how to make the perfect macaroni and cheese. This is a key life skill here in the South along with learning to use the term "y'all correctly (it never means just one person) and knowing that if you say you are 'fixin'" to do something, it means you're getting ready to just as soon as you "get around to it." Macaroni and cheese is one of those all-purpose dishes that works for wakes, weddings, baby showers, potlucks, Sunday dinner, or church covered dish suppers. No one turns it down and if they say they did, they're a doggone liar.
So now that we have that established, let's get around to what I was fixin' to say...how to help y'all make the best macaroni and cheese you ever put in your mouth.
This is what you'll need:
4 cups of small elbow macaroni
4 tablespoons butter or margarine and extra to grease the baking dish.
1/4 cup all purpose flour
12 ounces of extra sharp grated cheddar cheese, block, not pre-shredded
1 1/2 cups of whole or 2% milk, more if needced for proper consistency
2 tablespoons salt
Pepper to taste
Let's Get Cookin'!
Put about four quarts of water into a very large pot. Add salt and a little oil to keep the noodles from sticking together. Bring water to a rapid boil. Pour in the noodles and boil about 8 minutes. Do not overcook, because the macaroni will continue to cook in the oven. Drain noodles into a strainer. If you don't know what a strainer is, we're in a lot of trouble!
While noodles are boiling, work on the sauce. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour and stir butter and flour together for 2-3 minutes to allow the raw flour to be absorbed. start adding the milk while stirring. You will use approximately one cup for this step. Add in one cup of cheese to create a cheese sauce. The sauce will begin to thicken. When sauce thickens, add it to the cooked pasta. Stir until combined and add salt and pepper to taste.
And Into The Oven We Go!
Spread one half of the mixture into a greased 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan, preferably glass. Add part of the grated cheese to cover the macaroni mixture. Add some milk to just moisten the mixture and cheese. Repeat the process for next layer of macaroni mixture and grated cheese, ending with the cheese. Add milk on top until you can see the milk coming up to the top edge of the layers. Place baking dish on a foil wrapped baking sheet to prevent spills into the oven and for easy cleanup.
Cook approximately 30 minutes at 375 degrees or until hot, bubbly, and cheese is just beginning to brown on top. Now for goodness sake, eat it, because you've worked so hard!
Besides the grandma abuse I mentioned in the title, this macaroni & cheese has been known to cause unsolicited marriage proposals, a feeling of immense satisfaction and fullness, and healing of whatever might ail you! Let me know how it turns out, but if you mess it up, it's not my recipe!