Everyone has those super memorable family recipes and meals that bring them back to being a kid. The ones that maybe aren’t the most amazing culinarily speaking, but to you it brings up all that sentimental goodness and just takes ya back. As I’m sure you guessed by now, one of those meals for me is my grandmom’s mac and cheese.
Back when my mom was a kid, she along with my aunts and uncle, would have this every Friday for dinner, or so I’m told. Even my cousins remember this meal. It was a big casserole of baked mac and cheese along with lots of fried fish sticks (Mrs. Paul’s to be exact) and stewed tomatoes. And, while I didn’t have this as a typical Friday night meal when I was a kid, I did have it pretty frequently whenever I went to my grandmom’s house.
Luckily my mom still has the recipe, so when I was in the mood for something a little nostalgic and comforting, I could make this. I had made a few tweaks to the original recipe, and I figured why not go all out and make the full meal. Ry was nice enough to grab everything we needed, so Friday night fish and mac it was.
This is a pretty classic baked mac and cheese recipe, but you could certainly make this as a stovetop version if you want. Just be sure to cook your pasta all the way. Since this goes in the oven for about 35mins I undercooked the pasta by about 2 mins to make sure it wasn’t complete mush by the time I pulled it out. Also, this makes a lot of mac and cheese for just two people, might be more appropriate for 4+, but the leftovers are perfection. I filled a large pie dish and these two smaller individual portions in the photos. It also freezes well.
The ones that maybe aren’t the most amazing culinarily speaking, but to you it brings up all that sentimental goodness and just takes ya back.
Man 'n Cheese
My Grandmom's recipe
- 1 pound elbow macaroni – I used Rigatoni here, cause I had it
- 3 C whole Milk
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated – set aside ~2oz for topping
- 6 ounces Swiss, grated
- fresh ground black pepper
- Fresh ground nutmeg – just a little
- 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
Preheat the oven to 375°F (175°C).
Boil pasta and undercook by about 2-3 mins according to the directions on the package. Drain well.
Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don’t boil it. In a large pot, melt 6 tablespoons of butter and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. Still whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add 6 oz Cheddar and 6oz of swiss, salt, pepper and nutmeg and stir till all of the cheese is melted. Add the cooked pasta and stir well. Place the mixture in a large, greased baking dish, or smaller individual servings if you want.
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top along with your reserved 2oz of grated cheddar. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni and breadcrumb topping is golden brown.