Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Southern Style Baked Macaroni 'n Cheese

Sometimes it's the simple food that we want the most, like a nice dinner of Macaroni and Cheese (with ham in the case).  Macaroni and Cheese occupies a vaunted position in the ranks of Southern Soul Foods and while it's not the healthiest thing to eat, making it yourself from scratch helps you control the ingredients and the final product will taste 100 times better than any over processed box variety of mac n cheese.  Don't be daunted by this recipe, it has perhaps a little more prep time than you're used to but it comes together very easily.  Just have all your ingredients prepped and ready to go before you start, it makes everything so much quicker.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

8 oz  Elbow macaroni or shells or spirals
3T Unsalted Butter
3T Flour
1T Mustard Powder
Pinch Cayenne
3C Milk
1/2 sweet onion, minced
bay leaf
1/2 tsp Paprika
1 egg
9oz Velveeta, cubed
3oz Sharp cheddar shredded
1tsp salt
pepper to taste

Cook the pasta according to box directions adding 1 min to make them extra soft.  blend together flour and mustard powder.  Melt butter in saucepan and add flour mixture.  Whisk until a roux is formed then add milk, onion, bay leaf, cayenne and paprika.  Simmer on low for 10 mins, remove bay leaf.  In a separate bowl whisk egg and add a ladleful of milk mixture from pan stirring to temper.  Add to saucepan along with Velveeta cheese chunks.  season with salt and pepper and stir until cheese is melted, remove from heat.  In a 2qt casserole dish grease and add cooked pasta.  Pour over sauce and top with shredded cheddar cheese.  Make a bread crumb topping if desired by melting 3T butter in a saucepan and adding 1C breadcrumbs.  Mix until all butter is incorporated into the breadcrumbs and spread evenly over top of casserole.  Bake in 350° over for 30 mins.

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