Cooking On A Budget: More Mac and Cheese Please

Friday, January 4, 2013

More Mac and Cheese Please

My name is Patty and I am addicted to macaroni and cheese. Next to homemade soup it has to be my ultimate comfort food.
The fact that you can create a scrumptious meal from a box of pasta and block of cheese and some milk - what can be simpler?
Today really was a test of the budget so this particular mac and cheese was brought together with whatever cheese I had on hand, a partial box of pasta, Parmesan cheese, milk, flour, butter and (glad my mother can't hear this) - ketchup.
Since I did not have any tomatoes available (which I often use), I added some ketchup to produce the pink sauce.
The portion size was just right for four people. So, here is the ever so simple recipe:
  • 1/2 lb. penne pasta
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 5 oz. Monterrey jack cheese - shredded
  • 5 oz. sharp cheddar cheese - shredded
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 tbsp. ketchup (approximately)
  • white pepper to taste
  • salt to taste
Begin by boiling the pasta according to the manufacturer's directions. You want to pasta to be el dente or just cooked under el dente as it cooks longer in the casserole dish.
In a sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add in the flour. Whisk for a couple of minutes to cook out the raw flour taste.
Slowly pour in the milk and whisk as you go. Turn the heat down a bit and keep cooking and whisking for a few minutes.
Next, add in Parmesan cheese, the pepper and salt to taste. Stir.
When the milk is nice and heated, begin adding the cheeses. Keep stirring until all of the cheese melts.
Combine the pasta with the cheese mixture and place in a casserole dish that is oven proof.
Cook covered for an hour in a preheated 350 degree oven or at 325 degrees in a toaster oven. Remove the cover when the mixture is bubbling and keep cooking until the top gets nice and brown.
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