I’m a strong believer in comfort food. And most of the time I’m good at making healthy comfort food choices. Chicken noodle soup with bean thread noodles instead of egg noodles? Yah! Pasta with zucchini noodles rather than the standard fetachinni? Sure! Carrot and rutabaga mash instead of potatoes? You bet! But when it comes to good-‘ole Mac-N-Cheese, nothing beats the real thing. Especially when it’s made from scratch. And with three out of my four Littles down with colds, today was the perfect day to whip up a batch. Welcome to Sunday at my house, where comfort food cures what ails ya.
1/2 package of standard noodles—shape of your choice
1/2 cup butter
1 cup whole milk
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
bread crumbs (optional)
In a standard quart pan, boil noodles of your choice. (1/2 a standard box makes 4 good-size servings). I always go with medium shells because they are just the right size and weight to hold up under the hearty cheese sauce. Boil noodles until al dente and drain. Set aside.
Return quart sauce pan to burner (no sense in dirtying a second pan!) and melt 1/2 cup of butter. Add 1 cup whole milk and 2 cups grated cheddar cheese. The stronger the cheese the better. Heat over medium heat until cheese melts and thickens—stirring with a whisk continuously. Heat until melted but do not boil. The sauce will separate and get kind of granular in texture if you boil it. (There’s nothing wrong with it if this happens, it’s just not as smooth to the pallet). Add drained noodles and stir mixture until well-combined.
My kids like everything smooth and soft so I didn’t proceed with the final step, but if you or your tribe are good with a kind of ‘crust’ on your pasta, spoon the mac-n-cheese into a greased baking pan, top with bread crumbs and bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees until top is browned and lightly crisp.