Even though the calendar says it’s Spring there still may be a bit of a chill in the air and right now we have hit several weeks of on again off again rain. So it’s still a bit early for starting to make those lighter warm-weather dishes and my old stand-by comfort foods still have a chance to be made once again. So why not make a dish of my homemade baked macaroni & cheese. I know there are many preferences on how people enjoy their mac & cheese, anywhere from the “blue-box” to a thick creamy sauce stirred with pasta and sometimes baked or served as is. I have made and enjoyed them with my family so you won’t get any arguments from me.
While I was growing up my mother made a baked macaroni and cheese casserole that we loved and I pretty much make it the same way. Over the years I made a slight revision to my mother’s recipe to make it just a bit richer by adding two eggs to the milk so it has a more custard-like consistency. I also on occasion add other cheeses to the shredded cheddar like Mozzarella or Fontina when I have it on hand to vary the taste and creaminess.
Baked Macaroni and Cheese
You will need: A deep casserole dish or pan
1 lb Elbow macaroni (sometimes I use shells or Cavatappi)
Block of a good quality Sharp or Mild cheddar cheese (about 4 cups shredded) I have on occasion mixed other cheeses to the cheddar like adding Mozzarella or Fontina when I had some left over.
1 Quart (4 cups) Whole Milk
2 Eggs, beaten
1 Stick of Butter
Ground Black Pepper (as desired)
Boil pasta according to the package in salted water, al dente works perfectly.
Butter a deep casserole dish
Add the two beaten eggs to the quart of milk and mix well
Place a layer of macaroni (about 1/3), enough to cover the bottom, of the casserole dish. Dot with some butter.
Add a layer of the shredded cheese covering the macaroni.
Repeat these layers until you are out of pasta – the top layer is cheese. Don’t push down on the macaroni or it will make it too dense.
Slowly pour milk/egg mixture over the casserole until the milk almost reaches the top of the casserole dish.
Dot top layer of cheese with butter and ground pepper
Bake uncovered for about 50-60 minutes in a 350-degree oven depending on how crisp you like the top, just make sure the milk mixture has turned to a custard-like consistency when a knife is inserted into the casserole.
You’ll know it is finished cooking when the milk is no longer liquid and is custard-like.
Serves 6 – Cook time and servings are approximate.
A secret to switching up this recipe: If you want to push this recipe over the top my daughter sometimes adds BBQ pulled pork in between the layers when building the casserole. It’s fantastic!