Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Creamy Mac 'n Cheese

I confess...I like the stuff in the blue box. Happy-time comfort food...courtesy of Kraft. I'm in. However, New Year's Day I had a baked mac 'n cheese that was honestly was creamy. People always SAY their M&C is creamy but it's NOT. It's dry and tough and has too much pasta. This stuff, on the other hand, was so good that I had to get the recipe for The Not Nice Kid, who had more than one serving.

Mary's Creamy Mac 'n Cheese
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/8 teaspoon granulated garlic
2 cups half-and-half
2 cups milk
2 10-oz blocks sharp Cheddar, shredded and divided
1 10-oz block extra-sharp Cheddar, shredded
16 ounces corkscrew pasta, cooked al dente

Melt butter, whisk in flour until smooth and cook for two minutes, whisking constantly. Stir in salt, peppers and garlic. Gradually whisk in half-and-half and milk and cook, whisking constantly, 8-10 minutes or until thickened. Stir in half of sharp Cheddar. Stir in extra-sharp Cheddar and mix until smooth. Remove from heat. Combine pasta and cheese and pour into a lightly greased 13x9 baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining Cheddar. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. (Instead of the granulated garlic, I mixed a clove of roasted garlic, mashed to a paste, in with the cheese sauce. Yum-yum.) When I protested that cheese doesn't COME in 10-oz blocks but in EIGHT ounce blocks it was pointed out that KRAFT comes in 10-oz blocks. So I'm guessing this started out as a Kraft recipe. is REALLY good.

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