Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Grandpa's Mac and Cheese


My Grandpa Tude has one dish that he makes that everyone in the family fights over.  I'll admit that he's the best at making this dish.  I remember always going back to get seconds and even thirds when we got together and he made his infamous homemade Mac and Cheese.

Now that I'm making this recipe, I find that maybe I'll blend some other cheeses.  I feel that since I've moved, I think sharper cheeses in this would be better.  I think it may be more of a location thing.  This is still a good recipe to base from in making your own Macaroni and Cheese.  This is the best way to get yourself away from those wretched boxed macaroni and cheese dinners.  You'll never want those again.

I do apologize as the instructions aren't very technical in this recipe.  I will tell you how to make this the way it was told to me.  I do add some ground mustard to give it more zip though.  I feel it's important to do this.  My mother came up with the idea to add it and it tastes better.  I wonder if my grandpa added this and just didn't tell us he did for his recipe.

Grandpa Tude's Macaroni and Cheese

Ziti Macaroni from Italy (Penne and similar pastas work fine as well)
2 Lbs. Longhorn Colby, cut in 1 1/2 squares (Shullsburg has been the best brand so far)
1 Tbsp Salt
Milk, warmed in a pan (2% works best)

Fill casserole dish a little over 1/3 with uncooked macaroni and pour into boiling water.  Cook until very al dente (not cooked all the way through, sticks "to the tooth") or about 6 minutes for most brands.  Don't cook for longer since you want the noodle to soak up the flavors from the milk and cheese.  Drain macaroni quickly and immediately cool with cold water.  I use an ice water bath in another bowl and dunk the strainer of macaroni in there. This stops the cooking process to help the macaroni stay al dente for the milk and cheese.  Pour half the macaroni into a large casserole dish (I use a glass 13"x9" cake pan for this).  Add pieces of cheese to the point the macaroni is almost completely covered.  Add remaining macaroni and cheese, leaving enough room for casserole to bubble.  Pour salt on top.  Add some ground mustard to taste now if you choose to do so.  Almost cover with milk.  I warmed about 4 cups of milk and added until it looked good.  Put in microwave OR a 350 degree f oven to heat milk and cheese to a bubbly stage.  In the microwave, it takes about 12 minutes or so.  For the oven it takes about 30 minutes or so.  When "bubbly", stir to mix cheese.  Put in 350 degree f oven for 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to 325 degrees f and cook for another 10-20 minutes or until brown around the edges.

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