Apparently Canadians eat the most macaroni and cheese in the world. How does one measure that? By the number of boxes of KD sold? Who knows. Regardless, mac and cheese is pretty classic North American comfort food. And best of all, it’s really easy to make it pretty well.
The key to this recipe is the use of a roux (or rue) not to be confused with La Roux who is apparently bulletproof. A roux, which is a key component of french cuisine, is made from equal parts fat and flour. The roux acts as a thickener. Milk and cheese and seasoning get added to it and then you get creamy, cheesy, gooey bliss. And it only takes about 5 minutes once your ingredients are prepped. Yeehaw.
1 pound dried pasta
3/4 cup of butter
3/4 cup of flour
4 cups grated sharp cheddar
2-3 cups of whole milk
salt and pepper to taste
bread crumbs, extra cheese as toppings (optional)
Boil the pasta in a large pot of salted water. I pulled it out just a little early (slightly firmer than al dente) knowing that it would bake in the oven for an additional 30 minutes. Rinse with cold water to stop it from continuing to cook.
Rinse the pot and set to heat on medium. Add butter and once melted, slowly add flour mixing as you go. Continue to stir and add flour until it is all blended. After cooking for a couple of minutes begin slowly adding the milk, mixing with a fork or whisk (i used a wooden spoon haha) until completely blended – it should still be pretty thick at this point. Lower the heat to low – medium.
You now have what is essentially a white sauce. Season it with pepper and any other spice you feel inclined to add. I wouldn’t add salt yet as the cheese and pasta will definitely season the dish.
Mix in the cheese. Once the cheese is melted and incorporated into the sauce add the pasta and mix thoroughly. Pour the contents into a greased baking dish. At this point you have the option of adding a crust to go on top. I added brown bread slices, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, and a bit of hot sauce. Do what you feel.
Throw into a 350 degree oven and cook for 30 minutes or until the top has browned. Remove from oven, serve, and enjoy. Try not to go for seconds.