My granddaughter is an itty bitty scrap of a thing, who, for a long time, ate itty bitty bites of food that never really amounted to a meal. At nearly 4, she’s becoming a better eater, though I haven’t really seen her chow down on anything, that is, until I saw her eat macaroni and cheese. We were having lunch at Applebee’s and while I was working my way through a burger that was bigger than my head, she was going to town on some Kraft macaroni and cheese.
So, the next time she stayed overnight with us, I knew what I was making for dinner. With no disrespect intended to the folks at Kraft, I was going to make real macaroni and cheese. Although, just to hedge my bets, I bought a box of Kraft just in case she didn’t like this.
I have made this recipe before, which calls for lobster and is heavenly. by the way, but this time I left out the seafood.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Kosher salt
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
- 1 quart whole milk
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups grated gruyere cheese (12 ounces)
- 2 cups grated extra-sharp cheddar (8 ounces)
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)
Preheat the oven to 375° F. Add the oil to a large pot of boiling salted water, add the pasta and cook al dente according to the directions on the package. Drain well.
Heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don’t let it boil. In a large pot, melt 6 tablespoons of the butter and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk. Still whisking, add the hot milk and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt and the pepper and stir until the cheese melts. Stir in the cooked pasta. Pour into a 9×13 pan.
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine with the bread crumbs and sprinkle on top. Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes until the sauce is bubbly and the pasta is browned on top.
Was it a success? Well, take a look. She obviously loved the creaminess of the sauce-covered pasta, the nutty bite of the Gruyere, the buttery crunch of the bread crumbs on top.
So, this recipe is officially kid tested. If you have one or two of your own, why not try it out?