Other than mayonnaise-in-a-jar, I think that mac and cheese has to be the best invention of human kind. Think about it. When Kraft first made it available to American homes with their timeless blue-box classic, the universe was turned upside down. And then it was turned right-side-up when the human race realized that something this amazing needed to be replicated at home.
This version is pretty much the same thing as the blue box version, just without the light show. You have the cheese, and the elbow macaroni (in my case I used a different kind of noodle because I like to think outside of the box/ran out of elbow macaroni from making too many noodle necklaces. Sorry-not-sorry.) And instead eating something with frightening chemicals that make the cheese look fluorescent, you just add some old, sharp cheddar and some form of Parmesan. I am a total cheese snob, and need to have my cheese freshly grated (by me, of course.) But if you don’t have that kind of time then the regular pre-grated cheese will work fine.
The breadcrumbs on the top of the casserole-like dish add some nice texture, and instead of using white bread slices I used some mixed-grain slices, since I am the image of health/ran out of any bread and refused to go to the store to get some more. Enjoy!
Macaroni & Cheese
Adapted from Martha Stewart
6 slices bread (your pick), crusts removed and torn into bite-sized pieces
8 tablespoons butter (plus more for dish)
5 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar (white or orange, again, your pick)
1 1/4 cups grated Parmesan (I used Gran Padano)
4 cups noodles (your pick but aim for something smaller)
1) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Butter a casserole dish and set aside.
2) In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Pour butter into the already-torn bread, and toss. Set breadcrumbs aside.
3) In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the milk.
4) Melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a skillet. When butter bubbles, add the flour. Cook and stir for 1 minute.
5) Slowly pour the flour-butter mixture into the hot milk while whisking. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick (this is the cheese sauce.)
6) Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in salt and black pepper. Add 3 cups of cheddar and 1 cup of Parmesan. Set cheese sauce aside.
7) Fill a large saucepan with water, and bring to a boil. Add the noodles; cook 2 to 3 minutes less than the manufacturer’s instructions (until the outside of the noodle is cooked and the inside is underdone.) Transfer the noodles to a colander, rinse under cold water and drain well.
8) Stir macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce.
9) Pour the now-combined mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle on the remaining 1 1/2 cups cheddar and 1/4 cup Parmesan, followed by scattered breadcrumbs on top.
10) Bake until top is browned, about 30 minutes.