A great macaroni and cheese recipe like this one is a great way to satisfy that comfort food craving. If you love macaroni and cheese, you should try this awesome recipe.
Why Mac And Cheese Is Good
It is simple, macaroni and cheese is a comfort food. It is not a dish that is good for you physically, however, it is good for you mentally. We all seek out our favorite comfort food from time to time because it makes us feel good. It reminds us of mom, of home, or of something that comforts us when things feel down. That being said, my love of comfort foods would not be complete without a recipe for macaroni and cheese. That also being said, there are good reasons to avoid the boxed mac and cheese from your supermarket.
A Case For Homemade Macaroni And Cheese
Ways To Serve Macaroni and Cheese
A couple of years ago I used to frequent a brewpub on Camano Island that had some of the best mac and cheese. What made their version of this cheesy classic so good was that they had bacon, sausage, and ham in it. It was also homemade, very creamy, and had enough cheese to choke a chicken. Since I already had a good recipe for mac and cheese that I included in my cookbook Damn Fine Dishes (page 72), I figured it would be pretty easy to duplicate this delicious piggie style macaroni and cheese. This recipe is the result of that.
Macaroni and Cheese Variations
Macaroni And Cheese With Velveeta
Macaroni And Cheese With Cream Cheese
Macaroni And Cheese With Sour Cream
Macaroni And Cheese With Bacon
Macaroni And Cheese With Ham
Macaroni And Cheese With Ground Beef
Macaroni And Cheese With Broccoli
Cooking Macaroni And Cheese In A Dutch Oven
Indoor Dutch ovens work great for macaroni and cheese. Just add the ingredients and back as you would with any other casserole dish.
Outdoor Dutch Ovens
Cooking over a fire with a Dutch oven is a ton of fun. When I use a Dutch oven I often use a Dutch oven liner. These handy little liners are so awesome because they keep clean up to a minimum. I often do not need to clean my Dutch oven at all when I use one of these. I just leave the soot on the outside, but the inside is just as clean as can be. If you make this or any recipe in a Dutch oven, consider getting some liners. They make them in all different sizes, so make sure you get the correct size. The equipment links below have an eight-quart Dutch oven and the liners are the appropriate size for that Dutch oven.
Cast Iron Skillet
Macaroni and cheese is also great to cook in a cast iron skillet. Prep it up and toss it into an RV oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. If you want to make this in your oven at home you could do something similar with the same temperature. I plan on doing a grilled version of this recipes sometime soon. I think the smokey flavor from a grill would make the macaroni and cheese incredible.
Making mac and cheese from scratch is pretty easy, it just takes a little more time than making it out of a box. The results, however, are so much better than boxed macaroni and cheese. One of the best things about homemade mac and cheese is getting that crunchy crust on top of the dish. To achieve a delicious crust on any casserole, I use breadcrumbs. I sometimes mix the bread crumbs with a little parmesan cheese as well. The parmesan cheese adds great flavor and browns nicely with the breadcrumbs. My favorite breadcrumbs are the garlic breadcrumbs or the Italian breadcrumbs. Just sprinkle as much as you like on top and bake long enough to brown the topping.
Macaroni and Cheese
Macaroni and cheese is an excellent comfort food or for any occasion. It makes a great side dish, or serve it up with some variations to make it a meal.
- 4 c dried elbow pasta (or your favorite pasta)
- 2 qt water
- 1/2 c butter
- 1/2 c flour
- 3 c milk or cream
- 1 1/2 c grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1/2 c bread crumbs
- 1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 c ground pork sausage
- 1/2 c pre-cooked ham chunks
- 3 strips bacon, chopped and cooked.
Over high heat, bring 2 qt. water to boil in a large pan.
Add elbow or rotini macaroni and cook, stirring occasionally, to just barely al dente; set aside in the colander to drain.
Brown ground pork sausage and set aside.
Cook bacon and set aside.
Cut ham into 1/2 inch chunks and set aside.
Place a sauce pan over medium-low heat and melt the butter.
When butter is completely melted, slowly whisk in flour and cook for 3 minutes, add salt and pepper.
Add milk or cream and continue whisking until the mixture is smooth.
As the milk heats, add the cheddar cheese bit by bit, stirring continually so that the cheese melts into the sauce without sticking or clumping. (You can reserve a bit of the cheddar cheese to sprinkle on top if you like a cheesy crust.)
Once all the cheese is melted, add the cooked noodles and stir until macaroni is thoroughly mixed in.
Add pre-cooked meat previously set aside.
Remove from heat, place in a Dutch oven and top with breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese and any reserved cheese.
Cover, and bake at 350° using 25 coals with 17 coals on top and 8 on the bottom. Cook for about 30 minutes.
Remove lid and let stand for a few minutes to cool before serving.