This ain’t your mama’s mac n’ cheese… Because this is my mama’s mac n’ cheese.
Rumors of this recipe have been floating around the Internet for weeks, maybe months. I mentioned it once in a Tweet or in a comment and since then everyone has been bugging me for it (hey, Sarah!). It is seriously one of my favorite memories from childhood. I used to help my mom grate all the cheese and always sneak bites of it when she wasn’t looking.
In the south, we bring food to people in times of sickness or sadness and this is a well-requested dish. It was always a special treat when my mom would put in the effort to make “real mac n’ cheese” as I referred to it. This is the mac n’ cheese I’ve been eating since I was in the womb. And the mac n’ cheese my mama’s been eating since she was a little girl. Life would be unbearable without it.
Well, fine. I will give up the secret because it is hard to imagine y’all living your lives without this recipe.
Sure, you can be fancy and add special cheese or bacon to this. But I believe it is just fine the way it is and I will never change it.
Mama’s Mac n’ Cheese (serves 6)
4 T butter
4 tsp all purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 cup half and half
salt & pepper to taste
8 ounces elbow macaroni noodles
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Boil macaroni to al dente, strain, and set aside. Be sure to salt the pasta water and don’t rinse the noodles! In a sauce pan, melt butter and whisk in the flour until a smooth paste-like consistency is reached. Add in the milk, half and half, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of black pepper. Stir constantly until the mixture comes to a boil, then remove from the heat and pour into the macaroni noodles that are sitting aside. Stir well and mix in almost all of the cheddar cheese. Transfer immediately to a baking dish and sprinkle remaining cheddar cheese on top. With the oven set to 350*, bake covered for 10 minutes then remove the cover and bake for another 15 minutes, setting the oven to broil for the last 5 minutes. Broil until the top is golden brown (watch carefully). Remove from oven and devour.