TRADITIONAL MACARONI AND CHEESE
Sharing Mountain Recipes
by Randi Lee Levin
When I first began asking friends and customers to tell me what their favorite comforts were, many immediately said, "Macaroni and Cheese, like my grandmother used to make." Having never made 'real' Macaroni and Cheese, I began asking friends for recipes, and developed this one from a combination of them.
• 3 cups (1 pound) macaroni or small shell noodles
• 1 -2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
• 2 1/2 cups milk
• 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
• 3 tablespoons flour
• 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
• 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
• 1/8 teaspoon dry mustard (optional)
• 1-2 tablespoons butter or margarine
• 2/3 cup dried or fresh* bread crumbs or an equal amount of crushed crackers
• Salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
Grease a 9x13-inch pan or large casserole bowl.
2. Fill a large pot with water, add the oil and heat to a full boil. Add macaroni to water and boil until the noodles begin to get tender, although not completely cooked through.
3. Remove from heat, drain the water under lukewarm water and put the macaroni aside in the greased casserole bowl or pan.
4. In a small pot, heat the milk until it begins to scald or tiny bubbles appear along the sides of the pot. Put aside.
5. In another pot, melt the butter; when it begins to bubble, add the flour and spices. With a wire whisk, constantly stir this mixture until it begins to turn brown, then stir in V4 cup milk at a time. Continue stirring until all ingredients are fully incorporated and the mixture is thick and smooth. Add the grated cheese and stir thoroughly.
6. Pour the cheese mixture over the noodles and gently stir together.
7. Melt the remaining butter and mix together with the bread crumbs. Sprinkle the bread crumbs evenly over the top of the macaroni. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until crumbs begin to turn brown. Remove from oven and serve.
* To make fresh bread crumbs, I use hard, day-old French bread, a baguette, or crumbled darkened toast, and grate it into a bowl with a cheese grater.