BAKED MACARONI AND CHEESE

Disclaimer: I am not making southern macaroni and cheese, which involves melting cheese and is a bit different.

This is something my grandmother taught me to do when I stayed with her when I was 17 or so.

Ingredients: 16 oz Elbows, 14-16 oz of cheese of your choice (trad. White cheddar,) bread crumbs, milk.

Boil elbows while you shred cheese. Pasta doesn’t need to cook all the way because it will bake too. Preheat oven to 375-400. Partly drain elbows when soft, leave some water for the bottom of the pan. Put half the elbows in the pan with half the cheese, then rest of elbows with cheese and sprinkling of crumbs. Drizzle some milk in for creaminess. The liquid keeps the pasta moist as it bakes, finding the right amount for your individual taste requires some experimentation, but if you’ve baked other pasta before you should have a pretty good idea of what to do.  Too much liquid means soggy noodles, not enough means the whole thing is crunchy or too hard to chew.

Bake for about 20 minutes. When finished, the cheese melts and then resolidifies a bit on top. The amount of brown varies to taste. I actually put this back in for another five minutes, watching to make sure it didn’t burn.

The nice thing about this is that no two people will make it alike. Experiment and you’ll find a nice way to make it. It’s okay if you don’t get it right the first time.  I’ve also made versions of this with meat and veggies already in it to make it a convenient fire-up-and-forget-about-it meal.

As I made it this serves about six to eight.  With my girlfriend and I, it lasts about five days.

See you next time.

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