Thank you Thomas Jefferson for bringing mac n cheese to the colonies. Did you know President Jefferson served macaroni and cheese at a state dinner in 1802?
This recipe is from Mac & Cheese – 80 Classic & Creative Versions of the Ultimate Comfort Food.
Substitution made – noted below.
Skillet-Fried Cheddar Mac and Cheese
1/2 lb macaroni
2 tblsp unsalted butter
3 tblsp chopped onion
1 bay leaf
1 tblsp all-purpose flour
3/4 c whole milk, warmed – I used 2%
2 tblsp heavy cream, warmed
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
8 oz raw milk Cheddar, grated
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tblsp olive oil
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook the pasta until it is al dente. Drain the pasta, run it under cold water, and return it to the pot.
Heat the butter saucepan over med-low heat. Add the onion and bay leaf, and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the onion softens.
Stir in the flour and cook stirring constantly, for 1 minute, or until the mixture turns slightly beige, is bubbly and appears to have grown in volume. Increase the heat to medium, and slowly whisk in the warm milk and cream. Bring to a boil, whisking frequently. Reduce the heat to low, stir in the mustard, and simmer the sauce for 2 minutes.
Add the cheese to the sauce by 1/2 c measures, stirring until the cheese melts before making another addition. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Pour the sauce over the pasta and stir well. season to taste with salt and pepper.
Heat a skillet over med-high heat until it is very hot. Add the olive oil, swirling to coat. Add the macaroni, and allow it to cook for 3 minutes, or until a crust forms. Scrape the bottom of the crust with a metal spoon, and cook another 3 minutes. Do not stir often. Cook until about 15 to 20 percent of the mixture is golden brown. Serve hot.
Note: The sauce can be prepared up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated. Bring it to a simmer over low heat. Cook and fry the pasta just prior to serving.
Maybe someday I’ll find my very favorite form of mac n cheese and stop trying new recipes… Probably NOT. This stuff is amazing. The Cheddar is mild and silky and melts really well. Then the bits of fried cheese sauce? Heavenly.