If you didn't already know, eating lots of cheese will bind you up tighter than duct tape holding a 40 in each hand of a teenager with clueless parents and brain cells to burn. Rice and bananas too, but this recipe is only about the cheese - I suggest you include a big salad with this, preferably with lots of spinach, maybe even corn to help encourage the cheese not to form a posse in your colon and hang out there a little too long.
I've made homemade mac and cheese many, MANY times, with varying results, and have decided that baked is not for me - I like it creamy, and whatever I'm doing does not engender that result....I have determined that baked mac and cheese is supposed to be dry, and dry is not what I am looking for. I confess a long time love affair with boxed mac and cheese - I like it Kraft, I like it cheap, I even like Velveeta, those perfect noodles cooked to crap with that bright orange "cheez" is such a comfort...I like it best straight up and covered with fresh chopped tomato, yee-HAW!
This is another "Un-recipe" - I make it but I don't really measure...I will approximate, but it can always be fixed by adding a little more of this or that, so don't worry about specifics...when you get it right, you'll know and you can just add notes to the recipe like I do. And it takes a variety of cheeses to get it right....not always the same, but some are vital if you want it to be REAL mac and cheese - just don't use blue cheese, I know it has it in Kraft but the real stuff makes it taste like mold. Unless you LIKE mold, that is....then have at it. (But you are gross)
Mmmmmmoooooac & Cheese
1 lb. box pasta - pick a pasta, ANY pasta!
1/2 onion, diced
1/4 c. butter
1/3 c. flour
2 c. milk (whatever kind you have except breast milk, haha)
1 c. 1/2 & 1/2 ( I know that's a lot of fat, which is why I use Darigold FAT FREE...HA!)
3 c. (approx.) shredded and/or sliced cheese: I used about 1+ cup cheddar, 2 big slices swiss, 3 slices american, about 1/2 c. Dubliner and 1/4 c. REAL parmesan...a lot depends on what I have, but always SOME american. Mozzarella is too bland...& smoked will make it smoky (duh).
Salt, white pepper OR cayenne (pick one) and a little garlic powder to taste
Put a big pot of water on to boil, add a couple monster pinches of salt and cook pasta according to the directions - slightly al dente because the sauce will finish cooking it. While that's cooking, saute the onion in the butter until softened, then stir in the flour and continue to cook until all the flour is absorbed and the flour starts to brown. Stir in the milk and half and half and whisk until smooth and starts to bubble - add cheese and stir until melted and smooth, then add seasonings and additional milk or half and half as needed to make a smooth sauce that will put a thick coat on your spoon. If you aren't sure, you can add it to the pasta, then add more liquid after - you will know then. Add seasonings to taste, and if you like stuff like hot sauce, go ahead and ruin it.
Drain the pasta when done, put back in the big pot and dump the sauce over all, stir until well coated. If it's too thin - like if you put it on the plate and the sauce spreads all over your other food requiring you to give it to your husband who is a heathen and doesn't care if all his food is up in each others bizness *shudder* - then continue to stir in the pot and it should thicken as it cools. If not, cook it a little to reduce it, just make sure it still has some creaminess to it. If it starts to clump and look dry, add a little more milk or half and half - a bit at a time until it's where you like it. You should be able to dump it in a serving dish, and have mostly just sauce clinging to the pan...make sure and scrape that out with a rubber spatula so the husband doesn't end up with cheese sauce sideburns from licking out the pot.
Ahhhh....nothing like a bowlful of cheesy goodness to make you appreciate cows - they give at the pump, so show your appreciation and instead of wrinkling your nose and hastily rolling up your windows next time you drive past a dairy farm, moo your thanks to Bossy and her pals - I do! MOOOoooooOOOOOoooooOOOOO!
P.S. - Dubliner is a Kerrygold product that I buy at Costco - I would compare it to a cross between a extra sharp white cheddar, swiss and parmesan and I cannot live without it. Period.