OK, so I have to admit, this photo is of reheated macaroni and cheese – the good news is that it reheats well. My son asked that I bring homemade mac and cheese to his end of the year lacrosse party. I showed up with two large dishes of homemade macaroni and cheese, and it seems it was a big hit. I have always thought that kids didn’t like homemade mac and cheese (damn Kraft), but maybe their taste buds change when they mature (like 7th grade). I also had a couple of compliments from parents (thanks all!) and requests for the recipe. I promised to post to my blog, so here it is. My apologies that it is a week and a day late, but the end of the school year is always incredibly hectic for me. I also apologize that I didn’t photograph the mac and cheese in process – quite frankly, I wasn’t planning on posting it on the blog. Regardless, the dish is super easy and quick to put together, so you all probably don’t need a lot of pictures of boiled macaroni and basic cheese sauce.
I first learned how to make macaroni and cheese from my (now former) second cousin Lydia Shire who is one of the top chefs in Boston and in the country. She served it at her mother’s memorial service gathering. She said the secret was to using as many different types of cheese as possible. So, it worked out well that when I made this batch of mac and cheese I had leftover cheese from the day before when I provided the cheese platter for the LAX Jam. You can use any combination of cheeses – combine pungent with mild and well melting cheeses. *The recipe below is a standby, but it is meant to be adapted based on the type of cheese you have, or like; just use the overall measurements as a guideline. The mascarpone, in my opinion, is a really nice addition that adds to the creaminess of the finished dish. You could probably substitute cream cheese, but I haven’t tried it. If you don’t have mascarpone, be sure to substitute an equally creamy cheese.
This recipe serves a crowd: 16-20, but can easily be cut in half to serve 6-8).
- 2 lbs. Elbow Macaroni
- 6 Cups of Grated “Triple Cheddar Cheese” (sold packaged) or any combination of mild and sharp cheddar
- 2 Cups Grated Colby/Jack Cheese (sold packaged)
- 1/4- 1/2 Cup Grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan Cheese
- 6-8 Oz. Mascarpone Cheese
- 8 TBS. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter
- 8 Cups of Milk
- 1/2 Cup Flour
- 1.5 TBS. Salt
- 1/2 tsp. Ground Pepper (white pepper is preferable)
- 1/2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 Degrees. Cook macaroni 2-3 minutes less than directed on box (al dente). Rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process. Set cooked macaroni aside. Coat a casserole dish or baking dish (es) with butter or butter spray and set aside.
In a small saucepan, heat milk over medium heat. Heat until just below boiling (do not scald), and keep warm over medium heat.
Melt butter in a large saucepan. When butter bubbles, add flour and cook, whisking constantly, for at least two minutes.
While whisking, slowly add hot milk to the butter/flour mixture. Continue whisking until the mixture becomes thick and bubbly.
Remove the mixture from heat and add all cheeses, salt, and peppers. Add cooked macaroni to cheese mixture and combine thoroughly. Pour into prepared casserole dish/es. Add additional shredded cheese if desired. Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown on top.