Monday, March 21, 2011

Mac 'n Cheese

4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
4 cups milk
1/2 pound macaroni
1 1/2 pounds sharp cheddar cheese, shredded or sliced
salt and pepper to taste
Ritz crackers (about one sleeve crushed)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the macaroni until it is al dente. (Follow the cooking directions on the box for the time.) Once the macaroni has cooked, drain and set aside keeping it covered to stay warm.

While the macaroni is cooking, melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Once the butter has melted whisk in the flour making sure to get rid of any lumps. You want the mixture to be smooth. Continue stirring and cooking the flour and butter together for about 5 minutes. Add the milk, whisking to make sure the butter and flour mixture are well incorporated into the milk. You can now switch to a wooden spoon. Stir the mixture constantly over a medium low heat until the mixture thickens and will coat the back of the spoon. (You want to be sure the mixture doesn’t burn on the bottom–so make sure you stir it well.) Once the mixture begins to bubble, you are at the right consistency. Remove the milk mixture from the heat and stir in 1 pound of the cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted, and add salt and pepper to taste. (You may want to taste at this point to see when you have enough for your taste.)

Combine the cheese sauce with the reserved macaroni. Stir until well combined.

Spray a 13X9 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Pour the macaroni mixture into the prepared baking dish. Top the macaroni with more cheese and the crushed Ritz crackers. Bake for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees until the cheese is melted and the crackers are toasty.

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