Can you say “Comfort Food?" Nothing warms the soul like a gooey bowl of homemade mac and cheese. Forget the hunter’s blaze-orange powdered cheese mix. This recipe takes a tad longer to prepare, but you will be well rewarded, my friend. This dish goes really well with the Graduation Party Pulled Pork. In fact, those two dishes together would complete a party menu. You can prepare the macaroni and cheese in advance, store in zip-locks, and reheat it for your crowd.
2 sticks of butter
1 cup of flour
2 pints of half and half
2 teaspoons of salt
32 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese (that big ol' bag)
3 pounds of elbow macaroni
Make your roux. If you haven’t mastered making roux yet, it’s time. Roux (pronounced “roo”) is the base for thickening any sauce you’ll ever want to make. It’s equal parts fat (here, butter) and flour. In a frying pan, melt your butter until it’s frothy. Then whisk in your flour. Continue stirring the mixture for a few minutes– you’re cooking out the raw taste from the flour.
Now slowly whisk in the half and half. The mixture might seem lumpy at first, but the lumps will work themselves out. Once the mixture begins to warm, add the salt and cheese. Continue stirring stirring until all the cheese is melted.
Let’s get that pasta cooking. To boil 3 pounds of pasta you need a big pot. Fill it 3/4 full of water, and add a healthy pour of salt. (You need a lot of salt in the water to penetrated the little elbows. Don’t worry, most of the salt gets poured out when you drain the water.) Bring the water to a full boil, then add the pasta. Cook for the time designated on the box, stirring every minute or so. (The al dente time should work best.) Then drain the pasta in a huge colander, and rinse it immediately with cold water.
As soon as the pasta stops dripping, put it back in the pot. Then, drench the pasta in your amazing, creamy cheese sauce. Stir and try to hold back the crowd.
Comfort levels are now at an all-time high.