My dad tends to get nostalgic for old family meals, especially around the holidays. Apparently, my Great Aunt Marie used to bake homemade mac n’ cheese every year on New Year’s Day and my dad has some fond gastronomic memories of this delicious dish. New Year’s Day also happens to be my mom’s birthday, so this year I decided to kill two birds with one stone when I made her birthday dinner.
The Food: Cheese, Noodles
1/2 lb. elbow macaroni
3 T butter
3 T flour
1 T powdered mustard
3 C milk
1/2 C yellow onion, finely diced
1 bay leaf
1/2 t paprika
1 large egg
12 oz. sharp cheddar, shredded (I use 16)
1 t kosher salt
Fresh black pepper
1 C Panko bread crumbs (for the topping)
3 T butter (for the topping)
Preheat oven to 350.
In large pot boiling water, cook noodles until al dente.
In a large sauce pan, melt 3 T butter. Whisk in flour and mustard and keep moving for about five minutes until free of lumps (I did a little less). Then stir in milk, onion, bay leaf and paprika. Simmer for 10 minutes and then remove bay leaf.
Temper in the egg. (Tempering the egg keeps it from scrambling in the hot mixture. I whisk the egg in a large measuring cup and add a few ladles full of the mixture until fully immersed before pouring into the rest of the mixture.) Stir in 8 oz. of the cheese, add salt and pepper. Fold in the macaroni noodles and then pour into a 2 qt. casserole dish and top with remaining cheese.
In a small sauce pan, melt 3 T butter and add bread crumbs. Toss till coated then top the macaroni.
Bake for 30 minutes and let sit for (at least) 5 minutes. (It’s still really hot)
The Fare: Baked Mac n’ Cheese
This is really great on it’s own, but if you feel like spicing things up a bit (pun intended) I love to slather my in Sriracha. It’s really, really good. Seriously.
We served it up with sauteéd veggies and a salad. Nom nom.