Who doesn’t love comfort food? I had a big craving for a cheesy dish the other day and decided to whip up some homemade mac ‘n cheese. The best part about mac ‘n cheese is that you can use whatever cheese you like (or have on hand). This recipe isn’t complicated and uses only a short list of ingredients. It also includes an important cooking technique – roux. It’s the base for any cream sauce and isn’t nearly as scary as it sounds. Just equal parts butter and flour.
1 Ib. small pasta (macaroni, shells, etc.)
3 T butter
Half of a yellow onion, chopped
3 T all purpose flour
3 cups milk
Handful of shredded Gruyère (or cheese of your choice)
Handful of shredded Jarlsberg (or cheese of your choice)
1/8 t pepper
1/8 t dry ground cayenne pepper (optional)
1/4 t salt
1/4 t dry ground mustard
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare pasta according to directions on the package. In a 4-qt. pot or larger, melt the butter over medium heat and add the onions. Saute until translucent. Add the flour. Stir around so the flour soaks up the butter and coats the onions. Cook for about 1 minute just to cook off the raw flour taste (this is the roux). Add the milk and whisk slowly as it comes to a boil, it should begin to thicken. Once it comes to a boil, turn of the heat and add the cheese, peppers, salt and dry mustard. Stir until the cheese is melted and smooth. Add the prepared pasta and gently fold to coat. Spray a 4-qt. bakewear dish with non-stick spray. Pour the pasta and cheese mixture into the dish. Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly throughout and slightly brown on top. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Makes 8 servings.