Last night I made Grandma’s version of mac and cheese, which is baked and is one of those wonderful recipes with only a few ingredients. It can’t really get any better, especially when I, um, triple the amount of cheese the recipe calls for. The very best part, though, is how much Tonks and Duncan love cheese. Tonks knows very well that she’s not supposed to be in the kitchen, but this is what happens:
And when I remind her, “No dogs in the kitchen,” she goes just past the peninsula and waits with this goofy grin on her face:
And to be honest, I really can’t resist it when she looks so happy, so I ask her for a sit and a down and then give her some cheese. The minute I do that, someone else, who likes to keep me company by sitting in a bar stool while I cook and tries to nonchalantly sneak onto the counter all the time, is all, “Look how cute I am. And even though I am a cat, I also know how to sit on command. See?”
They have me trained pretty well, I think.
Here’s the recipe:
Bring enough water for 16 oz pasta (we use organic rotini) to a boil and add the pasta. Boil until it’s the tenderness you like, stirring enough that the pasta doesn’t stick together. I like it slightly mushier than al dente. While the water is boiling and pasta is cooking, preheat your oven to 325ºF and grate up your cheese. I used 4 oz gruyère, 6-8 oz smoked cheddar, and 6-8 oz aged English cheddar, though I’ve successfully made this dish with sharp cheddar already grated from a bag. Grated, these blocks of cheese made about 4-5 ish cups of cheese (as you can see in the photo above). In this time, you should also cut up 4 tablespoons of butter (I use salted) into 1/2 inch square cubes. When the pasta is done, drain it and spread about 1/3 of it in the bottom of a 13×9 oven safe dish. Sprinkle 1/3 of your grated cheese evenly on top of the pasta. Layer another 1/3 of your pasta and another 1/3 of your cheese and once more again until you’re out of pasta and you end with cheese. (You should have three layers of pasta-cheese). Add some salt and freshly ground pepper to the top of your layers. I try not to add too much salt because Hubs and I have been ruining dishes lately because you can’t un-salt things. Plus, cheese is pretty salty inherently. Then pour 1/2-2/3 cups of milk over your casserole and dot your cut up butter evenly on top. Bake for 25ish minutes or until the cheese is bubbly.