3 tablespoons of butter 3 tablespoons of butter
½ lb uncooked macaroni, about 1 ½ cups ½ lb uncooked macaroni, about 1 ½ cups
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon of salt 1/2 teaspoon of salt
3/4 cup half and half 3/4 cup half and half
1 1/2 cups milk, any type 1 1/2 cups milk, any type
2 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese * 2 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese *
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and lightly grease a square baking dish.
Cook the macaroni al dente, according to the instructions on the package. Drain and reserve.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour, salt and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes.
Slowly add the milk and half and half, stirring constantly, and cook over medium-low heat for a few minutes until the mixture is just thickened. Remove from heat and add 1 cup of grated cheese, stirring until melted.
Add the cooked macaroni noodles and stir to coat. Pour half or pasta mixture into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of cheese on top. Add the rest of the pasta and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until cheese is melted on top.
Serve with your favorite vegetable or a salad.
Tips for getting a mild cheese sauce:
High-quality aged cheddar cheese will give it a stronger flavor and a smoother texture. Cheaper, softer cheddar will have less flavor and an almost grainy flavor.
Use grated cream cheese. Store-bought pre-grated cheese will not melt the same way as freshly grated cheese, and grating the cheese will help it melt smoothly and evenly into the sauce.
Bring the cheese to room temperature. I like to grate the cheese first, before continuing with the recipe. This allows it to sit at room temperature while I prepare the white sauce.
Use a low heat. In order for the cheese to melt properly and smoothly, we want it to gradually change in temperature (like the way we shred it and allow it to return to room temperature at the beginning of the recipe). When it’s time to add the cheese to the white sauce, remove the sauce from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes. It just needs to be hot enough to melt the cheese.
Do not overstir the sauce after the cheese has melted. Add the noodles and quickly mount in the pan and put in the oven.