I have loved macaroni and cheese my whole life. It is much more than comfort food … it holds memories of my Grandmother’s house and the particular dish she always used to prepare it. I have made it literally dozens of ways, but the old-fashioned way of making a sauce with butter, flour, milk, salt and cheese is my favorite. It gives me an extra excuse to purchase different cheeses to give the milk gravy a different taste and look. For this particular recipe, I use a nice fontina, a creamy but semi-firm cheese made from cow’s milk. I cherish the milk, nut-like flavor, but more importantly the exceptional melting ability. It always melts quickly and smoothly, enhancing the macaroni to perfection. Give it a try and play around with the literally dozens of readily available cheeses in your supermarket deli. Even though I change it up with a different variety of cheese each time, it always goes in my Grandmother’s dish. That makes it taste better!
Old-Fashioned Macaroni and Cheese
Yield: 8 servings
1 (8-ounce) package elbow macaroni
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheese
Prepare the macaroni according to the package directions. Drain and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. Place the butter in a large saucepan over low heat. When melted, add the flour and stir until smooth. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually add the milk and increase the heat to medium. Stir constantly until thick and bubbly. Stir in the salt and cheese, stirring until the cheese melts. Add the macaroni and stir well. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and sprinkle the top with paprika. Bake uncovered for 22-25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving warm.