Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Simple Mac and Cheese

One of the reasons why I look forward to winter is HOMEMADE MACNCHEESE. There are so many different ways to make it but I always make sure to put extra cheese and breadcrumbs on top for crusty deliciousness : ) In this particular version, I added broccoli and cauliflower because that's what we had!

1 pound of dried macaroni noodles
2 cups half and half
2 cups milk
4 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 small bunch broccoli, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 small bunch cauliflower, chopped in the same way
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
breadcrumbs and extra butter for the top

Start with making the roux, which thickens the cream mixture that you pour on top of the pasta. Melt the butter until it is bubbly and then add the flour while stirring to incorporate. Keep stirring the mixture for several minutes, letting it get browned on the stove. You'll see the color darken and the roux will start to smell nutty and rich.
Then pour in the milk and the half and half. Keep the heat on medium and bring to a simmer while stirring occasionally.

I like to cook the pasta during this time since boiling the milk mixture takes some time. So just follow the directions on the package and cook the noodles until al dente, drain, and set aside.
Once the milk mixture start simmering, take it off the stove and add 2 cups of the cheese to the mixture. Wait one minute, then stir slowly to mix.

Divide the noodles between 2- 8x8 baking pans and add the broccoli and cauliflower to both pans.

You could also just use one 9x13 inch ban. Then pour the cream and cheese mixture over the noodles evenly and stir to incorporate. You want to make sure to have cheese in every bite!
Then sprinkle the remaining 2 cups of shredded cheese on top of the pans. Add the extra butter and breadcrumbs on top of the cheese. This is what it looks like before going in the oven:

Bake the macncheese at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes or so or just until the top is lightly browned and the cheese is bubbly. Enjoy!

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