HOMEMADE STOVETOP MAC N CHEESE
- 3-4c ELBOW MACARONI (1-16OZ BOX=4c)
- 3T STICK MARGARINE OR BUTTER (TUB MARGARINE HAS TOO MUCH WATER)
- 3T FLOUR
- 2 1/2c WHOLE MILK (HEATED ABOUT 2-3 MINUTES IN MICROWAVE)
- 1/8c PARMESAN CHEESE (SHAKER KIND)
- 1c SHREDDED CHEESE (WE USED MEXICAN BLEND BUT ANY FLAVOR WILL WORK)
- 1/2c SHREDDED CHEESE FOR SERVING GARNISH
- 1/4t SALT (OR TO TASTE)
- 1/4t PEPPER (OR TO TASTE)
- DASH OF GROUND NUTMEG
Cook pasta according to directions. This is 7-10 minutes for al dente depending on shape.
While water for pasta is heating to boiling… begin your sauce.
Melt margarine in 2qt saucepan over medium low heat. Add flour and whisk constantly to prevent scorching for about 1 minute or so. (Flour and butter will clump into a ball(s) like soft play dough.) Slowly add warm milk whisking continuously to obtain a smooth sauce. (This is a basic Béchamel sauce.) Reduce heat to low and keep it stirred. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg (My “dash” is a spot about the size of a quarter on top of the sauce.) Turn off heat and add shredded cheese and stir until melted and smooth. Taste and add more salt/pepper if needed. (You could also add bacon bits, some garlic and/or onion powder/salt.) If sauce is too thick for your taste add warm water or milk to thin.
The trick to the sauce, I have learned is PATIENCE. Low and slow with constant stirring. Higher heat is faster but it will wreck the sauce (scorched flavor, clumpy and/or curdled).
Drain the cooked pasta and pour back into pan. Pour sauce over noodles and gently stir to coat. Serve with a sprinkle of shredded cheese for garnish.
Reheats well in microwave, just add a bit of milk or water and keep stirred while heating.