Macaroni and cheese

I’ve written about the home cooking we do that comes from D’s family; time for some from my own.  Baked macaroni and cheese is probably my favorite dish of all time.  I follow fairly closely my father’s recipe, which is approximately equivalent to his mother’s recipe, as well as to those of the Fanny Farmer Cookbook and Bittman’s How To Cook Everything.


  • 1 lb elbow pasta
  • 2 1/4 cups milk
  • 3-4 tablespoons butter, plus some to butter the pan
  • 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, grated, plus some extra
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3-4 tablespoons flour
  • salt, pepper, breadcrumbs, Tabasco sauce


  • Boil the elbows as per directions, drain, and set them aside for later.
  • Melt the butter and saute the onion until soft.  Add the flour and mix until the flour is completely coated in butter.  Cook on medium-low until a little bit of browning happens.
  • Add the milk in small portions (say, 1/4 or 1/2 cup at a time), mixing each portion completely until smooth with a fork or whisk.
  • Add the cheese, salt and pepper, and some Tabasco.  Mix until the cheese completely melts.  At this point, you can cook the sauce on low heat or just set it aside.
  • Butter a casserole pot, baking dish, or other appropriate piece of cookware, and coat with breadcrumbs.  Mix the pasta and the sauce together and pour in.  Top with more breadcrumbs and the extra cheese.  Bake at 400 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, until the top is nicely browned.

At home growing up, we typically ate this with salad and some other easy vegetable side; D and I tend more towards cooked veggies.  Mac and cheese is served here with carrots, sautéed with a bit of chili powder, and steamed green beans tossed with sautéed mushrooms, onion and garlic.  (The astute observer will notice that I didn’t bring enough carrots — alas! — but it was still tasty!)

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