I never grew up cooking. My mother kicked me out of the kitchen because she never wanted my help. She favored my brother -- now a cook -- and disregarded any interest I had in learning how to cook or bake. Caring, right?
It wasn't until I moved out for college that I began expanding my culinary horizon. And while I love experimenting with food, I'm still pretty lazy in the kitchen. That is, I don't like to do more work than needs to be done.
Which is exactly where my Grandmother's homemade macaroni and cheese comes in. Like my mother, she doesn't like me in her kitchen. However, she does like me in my kitchen, where I can make all of the macaroni and cheese I want, since it's so freaking easy.
And not just any kind of easy; it's insanely easy. It's got a total
of seven ingredients. No hocus-pocus. No magic tricks. No gimmicks. Not
that I'm hating on the blue box, but they really don't have anything on Grandma's homemade greatness.
*Editor's note: I do not use bread crumbs. I'm morally against them as a policy.
1 lb (16 oz) uncooked elbow macaroni
6 qts water
2-4 tbsp kosher salt
Bring water to a boil. Add salt and macaroni. Stir. Boil rapidly
10-15 minutes uncovered. Check for tenderness with a fork. Al dente.
4 tbsp. butter
4 tbsp. flour
2 tsp. kosher salt
4 cups milk
4 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
While macaroni is cooking, melt butter in saucepan. Add flour and salt.
Heat until mixture bubbles. Remove from heat. Add milk gradually,
return to heat, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from
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heat. Add 3 cups grated cheese and stir until blended. Add macaroni and
stir, pour into greased casserole dish. Sprinkle 1 cup (or however much
you've got left over) grated cheese on top. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes
until cheese is melted. Dig in.