Ah the rains of fall. The drenching, cold, wet, bone numbing weather that makes me long to curl up with a nice big dish of my favorite comfort food (macaroni and cheese) and let me forget, for a moment, that the rest of the world is putting up their storm windows.
I was actually reminded of how much I love my mac and cheese when my friend Debbie Burg served me her take on this delicious dish for break the fast. I wanted to eat the whole pan myself it was so good. Her 3 cheese, crunchy topped, slightly spicy rendition was gooey perfection and made me realize that anyone “making do” with the “boxed stuff” needs to step up to the plate and try the real stuff.
Before we go any further, you should know that you can actually use any kind of noodle you want to make your mac and cheese. You also use any kind of cheese you want (except, perhaps, Blue cheese because it’s stinky). You can mix and match the noodles and cheese to your heart’s contentment and it’s all gonna be good.
That being said the most common kind of cheese used is cheddar. Some chefs (and I use the term with a bit of hesitation here) use the block processed kind of American cheese but please, if you want a creamier sauce, make a white sauce (flour, butter and milk) and add the cheese to it. Trust me, much better, and better for you than the processed stuff. Most any kind of cheese can be used and combining several different kinds makes for a more interesting cheese sauce.
The homemade variety of macaroni and cheese usually contains a ton of butter and cream. The answer to the unasked question is yes, you can use the low or no fat varieties, just know that the flavor and melt point of the cheese will be different. Whole wheat or multi grain macaroni are also nice alternatives. Adding veggies or a dash or two or hot sauce or cayenne pepper or dry mustard will truly add to the overall gourmet eating experience that is a plate of macaroni and cheese.
Macaroni and cheese is not just for kids anymore. It’s wonderful as a side dish, terrific as a light supper or dinner and perfect anytime you want to share the love.
Please note there is a custom to wait after eating certain hard cheeses before eating meat. Learn more
The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.