Thursday, February 9, 2012

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

No this is not the Mac and Chees I made

Today I decided to conquer one of my cooking fears which is Baked Macaroni and Cheese.  Being a scrawny Irish Catholic kinda gal from Brooklyn it was just not something we ate.  Sure I would make a box of Kraft or Velveeta when the girls were growing up but making it from scratch?  NO!!!

When Michael and I got together was when I had the first unsuccessful attempt.  I knew it was one of his favorites so I tried to make it but...failure.  I tried a second time with the same unsuccessful results.  It became almost a laughing matter between the two of us and his family.  What kind of cook cannot make Baked Mac and Cheese? 

For some unknown reason today I have decided to attempt this once more.  Perhaps it was the fact that I was in the grocery store on my way home from work and I was absolutely famished.  What ever the reason after Michael left to go show houses off to the Internet I went.  Let me tell you there are a million mac and cheese recipes on there but...when I got to the second one I realized that the old tried and true are the best.  There on the Internet from a 1946 Fannie Farmer cookbook was a recipe and better yet, it got rave reviews.  I have an old Fannie Farmer cookbook and that is where my attempt has come from.

One thing I have realized as I was making this was that I am always trying to adjust things and add stuff to recipes which is probably why I have had the previous problems with this seemingly easy recipe.  It has taken all my will to follow this to the tee even measuring the flour, butter and milk.  The only change I made was 1 teaspoon of dried mustard.  And that said we have Baked Macaroni and Cheese from the Fannie Farmer Boston Cooking School Cookbook, the 1959 edition.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Cook and drain
    1-9 ounce package macaroni
Put half of it in a buttered baking dish.
Sprinkle with
     ½ cup grated cheese (or more)
Cover with the rest of the macaroni.
Sprinkle with
     ½ cup grated cheese (or more)
Cover with
     2 cups cream sauce (recipe to follow)
Sprinkle with
     ½ cup buttered bread crumbs
Bake at 400 until brown. 15 – 20 minutes. Serves 6

For a very creamy dish, make 2 cups Cheese Sauce and spread it on the layers of macaroni instead of cheese and cream sauce. (recipe also follows)

Cream Sauce

Melt in a double boiler top or a small heavy saucepan
     2 tablespoons butter
Stir in
     2 tablespoons flour
Blend well over low heat. Stir in
     1 cup cold milk or milk and cream

A blending fork or a wire whisk helps keep a sauce smooth as it cooks. Bring slowly to the boiling point. Cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Season to taste with
Salt and pepper

Makes 1 cup

To turn this into a cheese sauce

Make Cream Sauce and add to it ¼ to ¾ cup mild or sharp cheese, grated or cut in small cubes. Heat in a double boiler or over a very how heat until the cheese melts.

I choose to make the cheese sauce and let me tell you, I tasted it before it went in the oven and it is yummy!  I used fat free milk and that has not affected the taste at all!

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