This is not your ordinary Kraft Mac 'n Cheese. My Mom's is unique and borderline gourmet if I do say so myself. I always knew it was different than the boxed Kraft Mac N Cheese. Maybe the commercials say that's the cheesiest, but my Mom's is definitely the best in my eyes. I made the recipe on one of our "Polar Vortex" days this winter when I was longing for some good home-made cooking. I yearned for something warm and yummy that reminded me of growing up.
I made the recipe and called my sister Sheryl, commenting that although it was just how I remembered it, I noticed it had tiny cheesey clumps in the sauce with the pasta and the sauce was actually very light but cheesey. Sheryl remarked that Mom used a Bechamel sauce and mixed it with the Kraft block cheese. BECHAMEL did she say? I was pleasantly and extremely surprised!
Who would have known that my mother, the ultimate 70's and 80's cook, would make a macaroni and cheese recipe that incorporates a version of one of the "mother" sauces of French cooking, the Bechamel sauce!
For years I grew up eating my Mom's mac 'n cheese knowing it was definitely not your basic recipe. I didn't know how or why it was different. I just knew that I loved it. And ketchup helped. But then again, you know my love affair with (in my opinion) the most versatile and flavorful of all American condiments! Growing up, I put ketchup on everything including my dreaded vegetable nemesis, canned peas.
Anyway, I hope you try it and like this recipe. If you do not, may I suggest a quick reading of Wikipedia's article on sauces? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sauce It's an actually very interesting article! Oh who are we kidding, if my sister hadn't told me, I would've been wondering about it forever through bites slathered with ketchup.
Macaroni and Cheese by Abby Deeds
1. Cook 1 1/2 or 2 cups of macaroni, then drain. (Instead of the normal elbow macaroni, I used Rienzi brand #38 spirals. They held the cheese sauce nicely and really snazz up the dish.)
2. In a saucepan, melt 3 Tablespoons of butter. Blend in 2 Tablespoons of all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a dash of pepper to taste.
3. Add 2 cups of milk. Cook on a low heat and stir with a whisk until thickened into a roux.
4. Add 8-12 oz of Kraft or another brand of mild cheddar cheese, small cubes (less than 1 inch to facilitate melting). (I used the store brand and it came out just as good.) Let the sauce cook on a low heat until the cheese is melted, stirring frequently so it doesn't burn at the bottom.
5. Mix cheese sauce with cooked macaroni.
6. Transfer into 1 1/2 to 2 quart casserole dish. Top with shredded cheese if you like.
7. Baked at 350'F for 35 to 40 minutes.