What makes Mac n’ Cheese splendid? First the cooking and prep time must stay minimal. Second the cheesy goodness must remind you of childhood while also tasting much more refined than the boxed mac n’ cheese with noodles twirled into spirals or contorted into favorite cartoon characters. I particularly love this recipe of mac n’ cheese because you get just that. Many other recipes I’ve tried call for cheeses that break the bank and incorporate too much flair: caramelized onions and mushrooms. Sometimes I just want the classic, only a little better.
Splendid Mac n’ Cheese
Yields 6-8 servings
Adapted from the nytimes
3 tablespoons butter
12 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
12 ounces American cheese or cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
1 pound elbow pasta
1/8 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
2/3 cup whole milk.
1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add noodles and cook as directed. Drain and set aside.
2. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Use one tablespoon butter to thickly grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
3. In a large bowl, combine grated cheeses. Set aside two cups for topping at the end.
4. Add noodles to the bowl with cheese. Mix thoroughly. Add cayenne and mix again.
5. Place in prepared pan and evenly pour milk over surface. Evenly sprinkle two cups of cheese on top. Dot with remaining butter and bake, covered, 45 minutes.
6. Raise heat to 400 degrees and bake 15 to 20 minutes more, until crusty on top.