Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
My son has been requesting Macaroni and Cheese for years so I finally found a homemade recipe to try and we’ve been making it ever since. My kids get a special night once a month with Mom and Dad and they get to choose what meal we have that night. You can pretty much guarantee that we will have Macaroni and Cheese and Green Beans every time it is Quinn’s night.
My recipe makes a lot. It feeds 8 people and sometimes leaves left overs for the next day. I originally found this recipe on Allrecipes. I tried looking for it but can’t find the actual one to link for you. I’ve tweeked it some throughout the years.
Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
(Full Version for Large Families)
4 1/2 Cups dried pasta shells, cooked and drained
1 1/2 Sticks of real Butter (12 Tbsp)
9 Tbsp Flour
4 1/2 Cups milk
1 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper
about 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Pound Cheese, grated (Tillamook)
I usually start a large sauce pan on medium heat and throw in my butter to start melting. Once that is on, I start a pot of water boiling to make the pasta. I like to do this so the noodles and sauce finish around the same time. Preheat the oven to 350.
Grab a whisk and start stirring the butter. I add in a few tablespoons of the flour as it melts and finish off by adding the rest of it by the time all the butter is melted. This is the white sauce of the dish and what makes it creamy. You want to make sure you don’t burn the butter by adding the flour too late. Stir and let it bubble about a minute. This is about the time it takes me to get out the milk and measure it out. Add the milk slowly, stirring frequently. Once all the milk is added and you have stirred all the ingredients together, you will need to occasionally-frequently stir as you wait for it to boil. I keep my burner on medium heat the whole time so there is less of a chance that I will burn it. Make sure to stir the edges where the whisk sometimes struggles to get down in there.
I think proper protocol is to add the peppers(cayenne and black pepper) and salt after it thickens. I add it when I have the time. After about 8 minutes it will start to boil and bubble up. In the meantime, start grating the cheese. Reserve about a cup (to sprinkle on top). This is around the time the pasta is finished cooking, so drain that and let it sit or dump it into the dish.
Make sure you are still stirring your white sauce occasionally. Once it starts boiling, turn the heat to low and add in the cheese, reserving 1 cup of it for later. I throw in the big chunks that didn’t fully grate in the food processor. Once all the cheese is melted, pour it into your 9 x 13 pan (or 4 qt pyrex)
Stir together the sauce and noodles and sprinkle the reserved cup of cheese on top. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 for 20 minutes
This is what the sauce looks like when it is starting to thicken.
Pour in the sauce and scrape around the edges with a rubber spatula to get all of that goodness.
Pour in the noodles and stir well to combine.
Sprinkle on the extra cheese, cover and bake.
In order to have good tasting Macaroni and Cheese, you need good cheese. A lot of people prefer to use Sharp Cheese. We usually just use the Medium Tillamook cheese. It’s just what we have on hand. We’ve only just recently started adding in the cayenne pepper. We all like the adjustment, it just adds a little extra flavor. The picture shows Rotini pasta, it’s just what we had the night I made it. Our preferred is the medium shells. We’ve tried several types of pasta. The medium shells have a little burst of creaminess because of the little pocket the sauce fits in. Whole milk does make it creamier. Any percentage works though.
2 1/4 cups, dried medium shells, cooked and drained
6 Tbsp butter
4 1/2 Tbsp flour
2 1/4 cups milk
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 + 1/8 tsp pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 pound cheese, grated (Tillamook) (reserve 3/4 cup for the top)
Cook and drain the pasta and put in a baking dish. Meanwhile, to make the white sauce, melt the butter in a sauce pan, over medium heat. Stir in the flour and let bubble for a minute. slowly stir in the milk and combine well. Stir in the salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Stir frequently till the sauce starts to boil. Once it boils, reduce heat to low and stir in the cheese, reserving a little for the top. Once the cheese is melted, remove from heat and pour into the baking dish and stir the sauce and noodles well. Sprinkle the reserved cheese on top. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.