I love macaroni and cheese. I love it so much. I love it like a fat kid loves, well, macaroni and cheese. For you Portland readers, there is a particularly good macaroni and cheese at the Hedge House on 34th and Division. The Screen Door also has great mac and cheese that you can get as part of their Screen Door Plate. I think the recipe below, which is in the oven right now and that I got from the book Macaroni & Cheese
by Marlena Spieler, stacks up well against both.
This Is What's In It
12 ounces large elbow macaroni, farfalle, or conchiglie
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons flour
3 cups hot, but not boiling, milk
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon dry mustard
12 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
3 ounces mild white meltable cheese, such as Jack or Gouda (mmm, Gouda)
3 ounces bleu cheese
1 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
This Is How You Do It
1. Cook the pasta until not quite tender. Drain and set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 375 F.
3. Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a heavy nonstick saucepan and sprinkle with the flour. Cook for a minute or two, then stir with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and add the hot milk all at once, along with the bay leaf. Cook, stirring, over medium-high heat until the sauce thickens (about 5 - 7 minutes). If there are lumps, remove the bay leaf and whisk. Remove from heat and season with salt, pepper, paprika, and dry mustard.
4. Reserve 3 to 4 tablespoons of the Cheddar and mild white cheese. Remove bay leaf from the sauce if you haven't already, then stir in the remaining Cheddar, mild white cheese, and bleu cheese and set aside.
5. In a small frying pan, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter and combine with the breadcrumbs. Set aside.
6. In the bottom of a 1 1/2-quart baking dish with 4-inch sides, sprinkle 1 or 2 tablespoons of the reserved cheese.
7. Layer a third of the macaroni in the bottom of the pan, top with a third of the cheese, and repeat the layers two more times, ending with the cheese sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining shredded cheeses, then the Parm, and finally with the breadcrumbs.
8. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the top is crispy and browned in spots.
Yes indeed. If we were in a black church, I'd be hollerin' back at you right now.