What I knew was wholly different - and made from scratch.
As an adult, I appreciate my mother's ban of the box, although I understand that the homemade stuff isn't quite up to HRH's delicate two-year-old palate the way medium chain triglyceride can.
The sad thing is that I am truly a mac and cheese snob. Willing to try it at most restaurants who claim to have "homemade" macaroni and cheese, I am generally disappointed (that's putting it mildly) at the gelatinous orange mush that graces my plate. I've been happy with Cracker Barrel's version; although the pasta is usually a little overcooked (I like mine al dente), the cheese is real cheese and not something synthesized in a lab.
But it's still not as good as mine.
Happily, I have made a few fans of my mac and cheese as I make my way through the world. One of these is our babysitter, Claire; rarely does she request me to make something else for her when she comes over to watch HRH for the evening, and as she is a starving college student, I am only too happy to oblige.
Macaroni and Cheese with a Crunch
- Pasta, whatever shape you like (I am partial to shells or rotini, but any shape that holds a thick sauce will do)
- Milk (maybe - this last time I didn't use any - this is basically only used when you add too much flour and you go from roux to paste in one point three seconds)
- Sour cream
- White wine, separated
- Whole grain mustard (if you don't like mustard, just omit it, you weirdo)
- Salt and pepper, if you want them
- Cheese (I prefer extra sharp cheddar, and if you really want to know, I'd prefer to get Cougar Gold® cheese over any other cheese any day of the week... hint hint for those relatives who might wonder what I'd like for birthdays or Christmas...).
- Potato chips
Cook the pasta to al dente (unless you like it softer; then cook it to whatever you prefer); drain and set aside in a place where the dog can't get it.
Grate the cheese. I used to do this by hand, but Julia, my Cuisinart®, makes an easy and un-messy process now; I just love her!
|OK, who cut the cheese?|
|Julia's an incredible asset to the team!|
|Paula Deen, eat your heart out!|
If you add too much flour, add a little milk until you get a proper thickness.
Whisk the roux until it's a light brown (we're going for the consistency over the taste here). Whisk in the sour cream.
|If you don't have sour cream, use cream cheese.|
|Some for you, some for me.|
|I like mine mustard-y.|
|AHHHHH!!!! I'm melting!!!!|
|DPStW is not responsible for water damage incurred |
by drooling on your keyboard.
Take the potato chips and place them into a zip-top bag. Beat the bejeezus out of them until they are crushed up into little teeny tiny potato chip-lets. Sprinkle them all over the macaroni and cheese.
|The larger, lower dish is to get more bites that have a crunch.|
Bake in a 350° oven (if refrigerated, bake until warm - if you have just taken it off the stove, you can just take about ten minutes to let the chips settle in).
Cool slightly before serving.
|My only measuring device...|
A final note - like many casserole dishes, this is generally better the next day. I made this on Tuesday and refrigerated it before adding the chips Wednesday, so all those flavors had time to get to know one another better. Claire texted me today to let me know that she was still enjoying it.
I hope you enjoy it, too!