Finally Mac & Cheese

11 Aug

Every time I decide to make mac & cheese I scour the internet and my cookbooks for a good recipe, and every time I’m disappointed.  My criteria:

  • few dishes to wash
  • budget friendly cheeses (I love gourmet cheeses, but we’re talking dinner for kids here!)
  • quick & easy

So this time I decided to wing it, and we’ve found a winner.   I added crabmeat (ok – imitation crabmeat – I’m not perfect).  You could also use prepared bread crumbs, or none at all.

mac and cheese

I’m going to post directions, rather than a recipe, because I didn’t measure anything.

1. Cook 1 lb small whole wheat pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water.*If you add a tiny bit of oil to the pot, it won’t boil over.

2. While pasta cooks, toast 2 slices of bread.  I used whole wheat, which is why my topping is so dark.  Tear the toast into 3 or 4 pieces, and add it to the workbowl of a food processor, along with a few chunks of parmesan, and about 1 tsp of Old Bay.  Pulse until it forms crumbs.  Add 1/2 T butter cut into chunks and pulse 3-4 more times.  Set aside.

3. Drain and rinse pasta.  Return pan to the stove, and add 1/2 stick of butter.  Melt butter over medium heat, then add 1/4 c flour and stir until combined.  Add about 2 c milk in batches, stirring completely after each addition.  Stir until smooth and thickened.  Whisk in 1 T Old Bay, 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp ground mustard.  Add 2 c assorted shredded cheeses – I used 1 cheddar and 1 c Italian cheese blend w/ mozzarella, parmesan, and fontina.  Don’t use more than 1 c cheddar or its too sharp and bitter.  Stir until smooth and melted.  Stir in pasta. 

4. Pour into buttered 9×12 pan, top with bread crumbs, and broil on low 8-10 minutes until topping is golden brown.

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