I do love a good Mac & Cheese, but you never know what you’re going to get in a restaurant. Some of it is pretty awful, so I thought I would make my own, with the thought in the back of my mind of aiming for something like my mother made.
Mac & Cheese recipes abound on the Internet, but as I went through them, they had ingredients that I didn’t have, like condensed milk, canned Alfredo sauce and such. I decided to just make something without a recipe. Also those recipes were huge in quantity anyway. My wife is out of town, and I really don’t need to feed eight.
I chose to start with 8 oz of macaroni. I boiled that for 5 minutes (1 less than the minimum on the box directions) in a lot of salted water. While that boiled, I started a roux. I used 2 tablespoons of butter, melted in a pot on medium high heat into which I stirred 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour, stirring constantly with a wire whisk until the mixture started to brown. I then added 2 cups of 2% milk and some fresh ground black pepper, then continued to stir, adjusting the temperature to keep the mixture at a minimum boil. Then I stirred and stirred and stirred. Once the mixture started to thicken (stuck to the whisk), I added about a teaspoon of mustard powder and a little onion powder.
I put the cooked macaroni in a baking dish, but thought it was a little too much, so I put part of it in a ramekin. I microwaved some sliced Conecuh Sausage and added that to the macaroni (this can be purchased at grocery stores in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Southwest Virginia or online from Amazon or direct from Conecuh). Then I poured the roux over the macaroni and topped with a generous layer of grated 5-cheese mix I got at Costco.
Then I baked the whole thing for 35 minutes at 350 degrees F. I think less cooking would be OK. Now it’s done and cooling. It looks like this:
Update: It’s cooled enough to eat, and if I say so myself, it’s pretty good. I’d be proud to take this to a church dinner. I would make one change, omit the sausage. I really like Conecuh sausage and I think it adds flavor to lots of dishes, but in this case it slightly overpowered the subtle flavor of the macaroni. Next time I’ll cut the bake time to 30 minutes.
I miss Mom.