When I moved Boston as a naive 17 year old freshman in college, I thought there was no turning back…to the west coast. I thought I would be a big east coast city girl for life. I loved the bustle and hum of the city. I loved the convenience of public transportation. I loved the multitude of great restaurants (that I could only “afford” when my parents were in town because they bought my dinner). I loved the people and close-knit proximity. I loved that there was always something going on. I loved the Boston Red Sox and their quest to “Reverse the Curse”.
So, my friends, if you are having a gathering of friends and loved ones and want a heartwarming dish to go along with, this is a go-to. And let’s be serious, mac and cheese is awesome, even if it is plain and simple.
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman’s recipe.
- 1 box of dried macaroni noodles
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/4 cup of butter
- 1/3 cup of all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups 2% milk (Or….if you want to be healthy, which I do not suggest with mac & cheese, you can use nonfat. Alternatively, if you really want to go big, you can use whole milk.)
- 1 tablespoon dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon of fresh minced garlic
- 1 cup of high quality sharp cheddar
- 1 cup of Monterey jack
- 1/4 cup of fontina
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon or more of fresh cracked pepper
- a dash of paprika
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While waiting, grate your cheeses.
- Cook the macaroni until very firm–do not over cook! The noodles should be more than al dente…like just barely past crunchy. Strain through a colander and set aside.
- Beat the egg in a small bowl and set aside.
- In the pot you used to cook the macaroni, melt the butter and sprinkle in the flour. Whisk constantly over medium-low heat. Do not let the flour burn!
- Pour in the milk and mustard and stir. Cook for 5 minutes until thickened.
- When smooth, turn the heat to low.
- Take a large spoonful of the sauce and slowly pour it into the beaten egg while whisking constantly. (You don’t want scrambled eggs.) Whisk until smooth.
- Pour the egg mixture in the pot with the rest of the sauce and continue whisking constantly until everything is smooth.
- Add the cheeses and stir until everything is melted and smooth.
- Add the salt, pepper, paprika and any other spices. Taste and adjust.
- Pour in the noodles and stir.
- Serve immediately if you want your mac and cheese to be very creamy. Or, pour everything into a buttered baking dish, top with some more shredded cheddar cheese, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees until it starts bubbling and the cheese is golden on top.
(Note: I chose to bake our mac and cheese as indicated above. However, next time I will serve it straight from the pot because it seemed to lose a little too much creaminess for my liking. Regardless, it was still delicious.)