Homemade Macaroni and CheesePosted: 22 November 2010
Technically I should have named this post “Penne and Cheese” because I didn’t use actual elbow macaroni noodles but you know, that just doesn’t have the same ring does it? Now that it’s official fall/winter, I’m all about dinners that require baking. Good thing Senor fixed my oven and it’s now fully operational again.
Mac and cheese is such a childhood staple. I believe I had a post a few months ago where I admitted to eating Kraft blue box and hot dogs for lunch. I love how mac and cheese can run from processed boxed powder to artisan pasta dishes adorned with lobster and other delectable goodies. And you know, I kind of love it all. There’s something very pleasing and indulgent about gooey, melty, cheesy noodles. It’s definitely comfort food, although sometimes it’s nice to dress up your comfort food and make it a little bit more grown up. I paired our macaroni and cheese with some steamed baby broccoli and pan-seared chicken breast in a chipotle reduction.
Mac and cheese is one of those recipes that you can mix up ingredients and it won’t reeeeeally matter, it’ll still taste delicious. The one ingredient that I find absolutely necessary is Velveeta cheese. As gross and not-real as it might look (I personally think it’s delicious but I know others take issue with the yellow block of goodness) it really does melt better and more evenly. It’s the key to making a creamy, cheesy sauce.
1 package of penne (16 oz)
2 cups 2% milk
1/2 stick of butter
1/2 block of Velveeta (small block) cut into cubes
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste
Boil the noodles until they’re cooked, but not overly soft. While the noodles cook, combine the milk, butter and Velveeta in a large bowl, preferably one with a handle and a spout (like an 8-cup Pyrex bowl, one of my favorite kitchen tools). Microwave the mixture until the cheese is melted, stirring every few minutes. If you want a creamier mac and cheese you can add in more milk, heavy cream, sour cream, more cheese, etc. Season if you’d like with salt and pepper and if you’re adventurous, a little chili powder.
Toss together the cooked and drained noodles with the sauce mixture and a cup of the shredded cheese in a 9×13 inch pan. Top the macaroni with the other cup of mozzarella and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake until golden and bubbly, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately and try not to devour the entire pan in one sitting.