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Monday, December 7, 2009

Macaroni & Cheese

This mac n' cheese is creamy with a small crunch topping.  Adjust the spices to suit your tastes. I often add additional cayenne pepper for a bit of a "kick".  This recipes serves eight, so you might want to half the ingredients to feed fewer eaters. 

1/2 pound elbow macaroni (I often use 5-grain or whole-wheat macaroni)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons flour
3 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Few dashs of cayenne pepper
2 cups grated cheese

For the topping:
1/2 cup grated cheese
1/2 cup fine bread crumbs
2 dashes of the following dried spices:
     garlic powder
     black pepper
     onion powder
     cayenne pepper

Preheat over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Butter a 2-quart baking dish with butter and set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the macaroni and cook until al dente.  Drain in a colander and rinse under cold running water.  Drain well.

Melt the 5 tablespoons of butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat.  Add the flour, and stir constantly with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes.  Take care the flour doesn´t brown.  Using a whisk, add the milk in a steady stream and cook, whisking occassionly, until think and smooth (about 5 minutes).  Remove from heat.  Add salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, 2 cups of shredded cheese and stir well.  Pour into prepared baking dish.

In a small bowl, combine the topping ingredients and mix.  Sprinkle evenly over the macaroni and bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 25 minutes.

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