Yesterday, I was out in the garden working on my compost and thinking of how I want to plan the garden this year. It was beautiful out. I had my flipflops on and a nice sleeveless shirt. Today we are having a blizzard.... there it is again; spring weather in Colorado, who can figure it out? The garden will wait one more week. Denver is predicted to get 20 inches. I hope we can top them. Eddie is home for a "snow day", Steve is downstairs doing business in his comfortable chair (he had his fourth surgery on Friday, and is still recovering, but coming along wonderfully. He should be up and walking without that boot by next week). We are all snuggled in with a fire blazing in the woodstove. Snow days make me hungry for comfort food, so I thought today was perfect for Mac and Cheese and wanted to share the recipe. I have pictures from when I was visiting Marie and Elizabeth last fall. I made Mac and Cheese while I was there; we had fun taking a lot of pictures of everything together, so these were ready to go.
Whole Wheat Macaroni and Cheese
1 Package of Whole Wheat Pasta; about a 16 oz size
I like the shells, because they have such a lovely way of holding the sauce, and have a delightful texture in my mouth. But of course you can use elbows or anything you like.
3 Tablespoons of butter
2 Tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1/2 cup half and half
2 1/2 cups Cheddar Cheese
2 Tablespoons Parmesan Cheese
3-4 Green onions chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
Salt and Pepper to taste
1. Cook Pasta as is usual until "al dente" (still slightly firm) ; drain.
2. While pasta is cooking, begin your sauce by making a roux in a good sized skillet; Melt butter, and whisk in flour.
3. Slowly add milk and cream, mixing constantly with your whisk.
4. The sauce will bubble and thicken as you add the milk. Now add the cheese; continue stirring.
5. Add green onions, reserving a tablespoon or two for garnish.
6. Stir in pasta and mix thoroughly.
7. Pour into a nice serving dish and serve.
When I cook, I like to cook with the freedom to adapt recipes as seems fitting; sometimes, I adapt to what I might have on hand. I might not have the exact cheese on hand, so I will use a little Montery Jack or what ever; or the onions, maybe I only have one or two green onions; you get the picture (although, I must say, that the green onions are wonderful in this dish, and it does seem a little plain without it). I just say this to confirm that any recipe can be tweaked and I often tweek them. I don't usually like to bake Macaroni and Cheese, unless I add extra milk or even a little water to thin it a little, because when it a bakes, it will absorb moisture into the pasta, and will dry up a little. Also, if I plan to make it ahead and bake it later, I will add a little more milk, and cook the noodles until slightly under done and well cooled, because I don't like them to absorb too much of the sauce and get too soft. If you were to bake it, you could add breadcrumbs to the top, and drizzle with a tablespoon or two of butter to create a wonderful crust. Bake at 350 until bubbly, and the bread crumbs browned.