Home isn’t really one particular place anymore. Given the vagabond that life has made me, home is now the people and food and sounds and the small things that make a place home. Having said that, while in the states, my entire friend circle would head “home” over any long holiday. For the time I was in Minnesota, I was very lucky that I could go away as well – a place where I could be pampered and allowed to sleep in and do all the shopping I want (within reason. Kind of). And that’s because my sister lived just about a 7 hour drive away. One winter break, after a holiday was planned, I received the expected phone call the day before I would be arriving at her home. The “what can I make you, you will be so hungry by the time you get here”, phone call. Most times I would have something in mind. My sister makes the best sausage dip ever. Her chicken stew is pretty darn amazing as well. But given I was arriving on Monday and I observe a “Meatless Monday” (another story for another day), I told her to surprise me.
My sister, is the older sister in the truest sense. The confidant kind. The one I called in college when I was waiting on a pay check and was sick of eating cereal and needed money to buy myself Ramen kind. The one who is the only one who is allowed to bully me but if you mess with me she will sit on you and beat you with a stick kind. The one who knows that the minute I would walk through the door and be tired from a long drive and all I might want is some good ol’ Mac N Cheese kind. Yes, that kind of sister. In short, the best kind.
Given it’s her birthday today (Happy Birthday, Akka!) and we love birthdays at She Said, I thought to share her Mac N Cheese recipe with you and had her send it to me. It’s simple. And delicious. And she serves it with the best sides.
Akka’s Good ol’ Mac N Cheese
14.5 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni (“I used multigrain pasta”)
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup your choice, any white cheese for flavor (“I used Beecher’s Flagship 15-month aged homemade cheese”)
3 cups milk (“I use low fat or 2%”)
2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter (for the roux)
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons butter (for the breadcrumbs)
1 pinch paprika
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
Preheat oven to 350′ F (175′ C)
Cook macaroni according to the package directions. Drain.
In a saucepan, melt the 1/4 cup butter over medium heat.
Stir in (enough) flour to make a roux.
Add milk to roux slowly, stirring constantly.
Stir in cheeses and cook over low heat until cheese is melted and the sauce is a little thick.
Put macaroni and sauce in a 9X13 baking dish and stir well.
Melt the 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet over medium heat and brown the breadcrumbs. When slightly brown, add a taste of freshly ground pepper.
When the breadcrumbs are done, spread them over the macaroni and cheese to cover.
Sprinkle at the end with a little (or a little bit more) paprika.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Serve. Relish. Enjoy.
The final deal:
“I served a main entree of homemade baked Mac N Cheese with a few delicious sides: creamy basil tomato soup, skillet-browned turkey Kielbasa sausage, and honey crisp apple, thinly sliced. In the past, I have done a side of garden salad, creamed spinach or oven-roasted chicken”
Seriously, how delicious does this meal look?