The Kids’ Menu: Macaroni and Cheese
August 16, 2008
Despite their openness to try all types of food, my children are quite happy to eat certain kids’ fare, most notably mac and cheese. What’s not to like? It’s got pasta, milk, butter and cheese in it. I’ve made many variations of it over the years, but this is the one I’ve settled on. The kids love it and frankly, the adults love it too.
Macaroni and Cheese
16 oz. elbow pasta
5 Tbs. + 3 Tbs. of butter (1 stick total)
1 medium onion, finely diced
1/2 C. flour
5 C. milk
4 C. shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3/4 – 1 C. panko bread crumbs
1/2 C. grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese
Preheat oven to 350 F. Cook pasta according to directions to the longest recommended time for the softest pasta. Meanwhile, melt the 5 Tbs. of butter in a large saucepan or dutch oven. Cook onions until soft (about 4 minutes). Add flour and cook for about 4 more minutes. Add milk and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium high and cook for a few minutes until mixture thickens, stirring frequently. Turn off heat, add cheese and mix well. Add cooked macaroni to cheese mixture and incorporate well. Add ground nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer mac and cheese to a large casserole dish or keep in a dutch oven. Melt the 3 Tbs. of butter and mix with panko breadcrumbs. Sprinkle buttered panko and parmesan cheese on top and bake for 25-30 until bubbly and brown on top. (If using a tall dutch oven, you may have to broil for a few minutes to brown the breadcrumbs.)