Hello from Oregon!
I've been battling a cruddy flu bug the last few days. Being a mother AND being sick is just about the worst combination. Thankfully I have the most doting and loving husband who has taken care of me and the kids. Ahhh, I love him....
I don't know about you but whenever I have been sick and am on the mend, I always crave food. When I was younger it was a crisp meat burrito from Taco Time (I know...gross). Now that I'm older, I always seem to crave homemade mac and cheese.
I didn't grow up with homemade mac and cheese (at least I don't remember it). We had the orange-out-of-the-box stuff. I loved it. In fact, I ate it all the time until just a few years ago. However, this all changed when my sister-in-law, Olivia, introduced me to the homemade stuff. Now, I can't get enough of it.
When I first started making homemade mac & cheese, I did follow a recipe. However, now that I am more comfortable making mistakes (and sometimes heavenly creations) in the kitchen, I never use a recipe for mac & cheese. BUT, for you, I have put together a simple recipe. Here we go....
Homemade Mac & Cheese
2 T butter
1 T olive oil
2 T flour
1 1/2 c shredded Mexican blend cheese (You can buy this in the cheese section at the store. If you don't want to spend the extra money, just use a nice medium cheddar and the flavor will still come out delicious. I just like the subtly of the Mexican blend.)
1 1/2 c shredded Gruyere (Again, if you don't like Gruyere, use another type of swiss cheese.)
1 1/2 to 3 c milk
1 pound pasta (I like to use Rigatoni.)
Boil your water for the pasta. Drop your pasta into the boiling water.
Melt your butter and oil in a pan over medium heat. When melted, sprinkle the flour into the butter/oil. Stir with a whisk. Stir for 30 seconds or so (this will help thicken the mixture). Add 1 1/2 cups of milk. Turn the heat down so the milk doesn't boil.
While the milk mixture is thickening, shred your cheese. When all shredded, over a medium low heat, add one handful of cheese at a time, whisking until melted. After all the cheese has been added and melted, if the mixture is too thick, add extra milk until it is to a consistency you like. If you think it is too thin, add extra cheese. Salt and pepper to taste (Don't be shy on the pepper. You may be surprised at how much flavor it adds to this cheese mixture).
When the pasta is done, add your cheese to the pasta. I have learned that while I like my pasta REALLY cheesy, some people (my husband) don't. If this is the case in your family, try just making single serving portions so you don't waste any cheese/pasta. If you have extra cheese, save it in the refrigerator. It is also a great fondue for crusty bread.
Some people like to have a crispy top on their Mac & Cheese. I, personally, do not. However, if you do, add some breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese to the top and stick it under the broiler for a few minutes. Make sure to watch it so it doesn't burn!
If you try this recipe, let me know how you like it. Remember, add what YOU like. If there is a particular cheese you love, try adding it. I love Havarti cheese. Whenever we have extra in the refrigerator, I stick it in.