>> Monday, February 11, 2008
We lost our power for about four hours last night. What a relief. Its amazing what a little silence can bring to a household. No TV, no computer, no humming of all things that run on electricity. Just peace and quiet. I have to tell you, it was a welcome change! Made me realize that we rely way too much on all these modern amenities. Cyndee and I decided that a few nights a week it is off with all things that plug in, and I can't wait! Although it also made me realize how lucky I am that I do have an oven to cook in and a computer to blog on! Otherwise I would not be able to share with you this wonderful, comforting recipe.
As a child growing up my most favorite food was homemade macaroni and cheese. My aunt used to make it for us in a big stainless steel bowl. I can still picture the size and the heft of that bowl that was filled with the most comforting meal in my small little world. It had to hold at least two pounds of macaroni, maybe even more. She used to make it with Velveeta cheese and put cut up hot dogs in it. Heaven. The Velveeta got so creamy and smooth as it baked in the oven, I can still remember the yellowy goodness of it all melted together.
This version is a bit updated, no Velveeta or cut up hot dogs, but just as comforting. It uses three different kinds of cheese. Sharp cheddar, American , and parmesan for the top. I use Land O Lakes American cheese from the deli, not the kind that comes individually wrapped (is that really cheese?). You can also use all cheddar if you prefer. But I do recomend you trying it with the American . It adds a really nice creaminess to it and seems to balance out the cheddar a bit. This recipe is adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks, Back to the Table: The Reunion of Food and Family. It is a wonderful book about food and Family. It has beautiful photographs and wonderful homey recipes like: Refrigerator Pickles, Apple Butter, and Sweet-potato Pecan Waffles, all delicious. This really is a cookbook I find myself turning to again and again.
Three Cheese Macaroni and Cheese
1 lb. Pasta of your choice ( I like penne or med. shells)
1/2 stick butter
1/3 cup flour
4 cups milk, heated
8 0z. (2 cups) extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
8 oz. (2 cups) American cheese, cut into small cubes
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
Cook pasta according to directions on package, drain well, set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a deep casserole dish.
Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for a minute or two. Gradually whisk in warm milk. Bring to a simmer while stirring constantly. Let sauce thicken and reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes more.
Remove from heat and stir in cheeses. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Put in casserole dish and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake for 30 minutes until brown and bubbly. Let cool a few minutes before serving.