Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and cheese is such a delicious comfort food. It's one of those dishes that I like to have regularly, especially in the cooler months. In my husband's home growing up, this macaroni and cheese was a main dish, and it totally can stand its own in that role. We eat it as a main in our house and occasionally add a green vegetable side to it. This time we had it with a side of Savory Greens. I adapted this recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook from the 70s. This recipe is a baked version, but it can very easily be adapted for stove top only.

Update: I discovered that the Amul tub cheese (yellow or blue tub) makes this macaroni AMAZING! It's not healthy, but you can substitute one tub for about half of the cheese. 

Baked macaroni and cheese with crunchy topping

Baked Macaroni and Cheese
8 oz. macaroni
3 Tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
2 Tablespoons flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon mustard
2 cups milk
2 cups cheese, grated
1/2 roll Ritz-type crackers, crushed (optional)

Boil the macaroni in salted water. If you're going for the baked version, drain it when it's slightly undercooked since it will finish cooking during baking. Otherwise, cook it to al dente. With the pasta in a strainer, melt the butter and saute onions until golden. Add flour to the pot and stir for 2-3 minutes to cook the flour. Pour in milk, stirring to remove any lumps. Add the salt, pepper, and mustard. If you're using a salty cheese, use only 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring the sauce up to a boil and drop the heat to a simmer. When the sauce is thick and bubbly, turn off the heat and add the cheese. Stir until melted. Add the noodles to the sauce. If you're going for the stove top version, you're done! For the baked version, pour noodles with sauce into a baking dish. Top with crushed crackers. Bake at 170C for 35 to 40 minutes until top is golden and bubbly.

Baked macaroni with a side of greens
A quick shortcut on crushing the salted biscuits is to just crunch them up in the package. Open and sprinkle over the top.

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