Macaroni and Cheese

[7 Dec 2006 | By | 14 Comments]

macaroni and cheese

Yes—I too ate the boxed version of macaroni and cheese in college. I would add smokies or broccoli to give it a little color and flavor (my other main indulgence was making Big Gulp size lattes on the $30 Krups espresso machine, back in the day we actually thought it was ‘expresso’). For the record, I would read Gourmet and Bon Apetit magazines while eating said boxed macaroni and cheese.

Collegiate foodisms behind, I now happily ‘gulp’ coffee from talented baristas at Zoka, Fuel and Vivaceand make macaroni from scratch. Though I changed it a bit, the original recipe is from Pasta & Co— one of my favorite gourmet take-out shops in Seattle. (I am secretly proud that my kids don’t like boxed macaroni, though perhaps I have robbed them of classic feel-good, widely-popular camaraderie over boxed mac ‘n’ cheese). Eh—Spaghettios takes care of that.

Don’t cringe—it isn’t too much work: most importantly, you can double the recipe and freeze a whole bunch for later (I use small, aluminum mini loaf pans to serve 1-2). Then all you have to do is whip it from freezer to oven and dinner is served! When you aren’t sure about what to serve guests, or are wary of their diverse palates and dietary needs, this dish is a very safe choice. All you need to do to make it a special meal is add some special sides and salads or sausages, or maybe some olives and bruschetta. Last time I served this meal for guests (some of whom were vegetarian), I rounded out the flavors with a Pesto & Spinach Salad and Roasted Roma Tomatoes.

Macaroni & Cheese
12 oz. sharp cheddar cheese
12 oz mozzarella cheese
3 cups whole milk (I use whole)
7 T butter
1/2 cup flour
2/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1-2 tsp Tabasco or other hot sauce
pinch white pepper
1 pound dried rigatoni
3/4 tsp paprika or chili powder to sprinkle on top
2/3 cup milk

Grate cheeses, mix together in bowl and set aside. Boil water and cook pasta about 5 minutes (it will cook more later in oven), drain and set aside. Heat 3 c. milk in saucepan until nearly boiling, off the heat. In huge skillet or saucepan cook butter (medium) until foam subsides, add flour and stir over medium low heat for 2-3 minutes. Stir in hot milk, raise heat to medium high and stir to thicken, 5 minutes. Whisk in Parmesan, Tabasco and white pepper. Add pasta, stir to cover.

Oven at 375, fill bottom of 9×13 pan with half the pasta mix. Sprinkle half the cheese over top; repeat. Sprinkle top with paprika. (You may freeze portions at this point). Pour 3/4 cup milk over dish; bake for 1 hour. If frozen add 20 minutes. Serves 8-10.

Note: make some and freeze some, this dish is very forgiving on the proportions. Feel free to use different size baking dishes. (And don’t forget to have your kids assemble this one! They love making layers and seeing quick results!).

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  • Jeff said (7 December 2006 at 12:14 pm):

    Boxed Mac and Cheese with extra gulp latte’s sounds pretty damn good to me!

  • Erika said (7 December 2006 at 2:10 pm):

    Janelle, your blog is stunning! And your macaroni and cheese…looks completely decadent. I will certainly be trying that one very soon.

  • Jennifer said (8 December 2006 at 12:22 pm):

    My child would be thrilled if I served boxed mac n cheese, but we’ve been eating healthier so I don’t buy that stuff. Haven’t in well over a year, possibly two now? All I know is, my dad bought it for her while in Cali and she came home whining about why I never do. HAHAHA!

    Your macaroni looks amazing!

  • janelle said (8 December 2006 at 1:53 pm):

    Jeff: yes, not bad in a pinch. Have you tried the Annie’s version? They have a box that includes 5-6 single servings and my 10 year old likes to make it himself.

    Erika: Thank you—you are too kind! Let me know if you make it/like it!

    Jennifer: Oh the flack we endure for being parents. Maybe they will thank us one day?

  • Abi said (9 December 2006 at 2:27 pm):

    How is it that I’ve never thought of making a large pan of macaroni in multiple smaller loaf pans? Thanks for the idea. I think I’ll have to make this, but perhaps include some Mexican chorizo for a spicy twist.

  • Kate said (19 December 2006 at 4:23 pm):

    Lovely….a mom who makes scratch mac-n-cheese! I love it!!

    Looks terrific!! And your blog is pretty neat too. I will put you on my blogroll and keep up with what you are doing.

  • Julie Tilsner said (16 January 2007 at 10:55 pm):

    That looks SO good, Janelle…I just made a version…and it turned out OK. Edible. Tasty, even. But it sure don’t look like this.
    It’s so cold down here in SoCal right now I really wanted to make some comfort food.
    When can I come up and try yours?

  • janelle said (17 January 2007 at 12:46 am):

    Abi: yes the ‘good kind’ of frozen dinners:).

    Kate: Cool, thanks for all the kind words!

    Julie: Just let me know when you are in the neighborhood:). It is cold up here in Seattle too!

  • Kids Cuisine - » Feel-Good Food said (24 January 2007 at 4:32 am):

    […] What are your comfort foods? I would reach for homemade macaroni, lasagna, maybe some chili, or just a pile of cheese with a bottle of red wine. I could find a content place with some olive oil and artisan bread, or a bowl full of hearty soup. Though your reach-for comfort foods might be different than mine, in the end it is all about warming up our tummies, injecting some semblance of peace into our souls, experiencing a pinch of relaxation, and/or the feeling of receiving a food-centric hug. At least for me–and my kiddos–comfort foods are all about feeling good. […]

  • Rose said (28 June 2007 at 4:43 am):

    How long will this delcious dish keep in the freezer?

  • janelle said (28 June 2007 at 9:42 am):

    Rose: I am guessing a few months, no problem. I don’t usually have my entrees hang out in there beyond 6 months. Hope that is long enough!?

  • Jeff Pozarski said (30 April 2008 at 12:09 pm):

    Great recipe, Janelle! I am going to try it as my boys eat little else other than macaroni and cheese (Annie’s from the box is the norm!). Great site. I will be back often!

  • janelle said (30 April 2008 at 4:26 pm):

    Hello Jeff! Please let me know if you try it, and what they think:).

    Thanks for visiting!!!

  • Ana Fernández said (15 November 2011 at 5:16 am):

    Hi everyone,

    why don´t you try this recipe with a bit of Spanish cheese , I´m sure you´ll love it, Spanish cheese it´s amazingly tasty so it suits everything, just check this website and let me know what do you think, I´m sure you´ll love it.

    kind regards