OK, so maybe the most "basic" way to make mac and cheese is on the stovetop, but if you're cooking for a Southern boy (in the South, no less), I say you've got to bake it (though I'm sure people will disagree). Southern mac and cheese should be slightly drier than those super gooey versions. With that in mind, and in an attempt to have a little fun while you're at it, I suggest checking out this Baking Sheet Mac & Cheese, which maximizes that top crust everyone clamors for: http://www.food52.com/recipes...
However, if you (or he) strongly prefer creamy mac and cheese and don't mind a tad bit more work (nothing is actually tough here), check out this genius mac and cheese: http://www.food52.com/recipes...
I made a chipotle Mac n cheese recipe that was delicious from AllRecipes...it was definitely delicious! I like it spicy so i used more chilies than they called for
Creamy stovetop Mac and cheese. As a southern guy, this is it. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add 1/2 onion that you grated, including juices, and cook until tender, about 2 minutes. Add a clove of minced garlic, 1/4 teaspoon of white pepper and paprika. A pinch or two of salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Cook for a few minutes to let the flavors bloom, and then slowly stir in 2 cups of room temperature heavy cream. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, and cook until slightly thickened, about 8 minutes. Add 8 oz of shredded Colby jack cheese and 4-8 oz sharp/mild cheddar (your choice) and stir until melted, then remove from heat. Stir in the pasta and toss until thoroughly combined. Season with salt and pepper.
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Okay, this nuts and bolts old school. You begin with a bechamel, it's easy. Melt some butter (about 1/2 stick) and heat that up. You are making a roux here so stir in 1/2 cup flour slowly and allow it to color to something less than tan. Meanwhile scald (don't boil) one cup of milk. Gradually work that into your roux, don't dump it in all at once or it will clump up. To this mixture add your grated cheese. I'm not a big fan of super hot mac and cheese, but some pimentos are nice especially with grated cheddar. There's your sauce.
Boil the mac, combine with sauce and be sure to season with salt and pepper. Actually you should taste for seasoning at every stage. Turn that out into a well buttered casserole. Top with bread crumbs and a couple of pats of butter and bake at 375F for maybe 20-30 minutes. It should be crisp on top and slightly bubbly.
My Grandfather had a prized mac-n-cheese recipe. He was well known on the church social circuit for his mac-n-cheese. People raved about this casserole. One day I found the secret, it was two wrappers worth of frozen Piggy-Wiggy mac-n-cheese. He apparently doctored it with extra cheddar and milk. That said it may not be basic but I use Merrill's pasta al forno recipe. It's fantastic. http://food52.com/recipes...
There's Martha Stewart's recipe. http://www.marthastewart.... Which is really good.
Which goes over well. But frankly a "southern boy" wants Kraft Mac and Cheese box dinner. The addition is to put bread crumbs or salted saltine crackers (crushed) that have been coated with a bit of butter and heated in a pan...and top the mac and cheese with that bake for about 20 mins.
DO NOT try to fancy it up by getting those 'box dinners' with the liquid cheese stuff, or the shells etc.
Personaly, I'd use one of those suggestions...but baked mac and cheese with the bread or saltine crust is the key for a southern boy.
Bascially What Maddy says.
Virginia Willis is a chef, food writer, culinary TV producer, professional recipe developer, and author. Her latest book, Basic to Brilliant, Y'all: 150 Refined Southern Recipes and Ways to Dress Them Up for Companywas rated as one of the top rated cookbooks of 2011.
Southern style mac and cheese is a little different than the Northern version which uses a white sauce. Here you go!
Aunt Lee’s Macaroni and Cheese
Serves 4 to 6
Many Northern macaroni-and-cheese recipes use a béchamel sauce to coat tender elbow noodles, but the only time most Southerners put flour in a skillet is to make gravy—certainly not for a white sauce for macaroni. Our recipes are often simple combinations of pasta, eggs, butter, milk, and cheese. My Aunt Lee often prepares this dish. When I asked her about her recipe, she replied, “I just mix it all up in the dish until it looks right.” I had to coax a little more instruction out of her to share it with you here.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 cups elbow macaroni
2 cups whole milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, cut into 1/4-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter an ovenproof casserole dish.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until tender (a little more than al dente), about 12 minutes. Drain well in a colander.
In a large bowl, combine the drained macaroni, milk, eggs, and cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to the prepared dish.
Bake until golden brown and bubbly, 25 to 30 minutes, or longer if you like a dark, chewy, cheesy topping. Transfer to a rack to cool slightly before serving.
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