April 21, 2014 § 79 Comments
Little people love macaroni and cheese. My son grew up on boxes of Annie’s shells and cheese. Some fortunate parents are able to sneak vegetables into the mix, such as peas or broccoli. Not us. He would not touch it if there was anything green inside. Thankfully he loved fruit and there was always little side dishes of strawberries, apples, grapes or oranges. Even adults needs this kind of food at times. The soft texture and mild cheesy flavor of macaroni and cheese remind us of our childhood meals, when we felt safe and cared for, bringing comfort to our soul.
I used mezzi rigatoni. This would have been wonderful with added english peas. The peas would have fit perfectly in the wide open holes of the rigatoni. But we couldn’t have anything green inside now could we?
I n g r e d i e n t s
- 1 pound of macaroni or rigatoni
- 1/2 stick of butter
- 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 4 cups milk, heated
- 2 cups shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
- 2 cups finely chopped american cheese – yes…the ooey gooey stuff…for the kids
- salt and ground pepper
- 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- hot pepper sauce (for serving)
M e t h o d
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain well. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a deep 4-quart casserole. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour. Gradually whisk in the milk. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 cup of the cheddar and 1 cup of the american cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread one third of the pasta over the bottom of the casserole dish. Top with half of the shredded cheeses and a third of the sauce. Repeat, using another third of the pasta with the remaining cheese and half of the sauce. Finish with the remaining pasta and sauce. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the top. Bake until bubbly and golden brown around the edges, about 30 minutes.