It’s been a while, but today I bring back my favorite guest blogger, my husband, to talk about his version of macaroni and cheese. It was one of the first meals he cooked for me when we were dating, and we’ve made it together countless times in the past 12 years… So, without further ado, here he is:
This is not a dish for the faint of heart. It takes a lot of guts to face the excesses of this delicacy. But, macaroni and cheese is a uniquely American concoction, that, unfortunately, is seldom prepared in a way that justifies it. It has a long, glorious history. OK, the Italians mixed pasta and cheese years beforehand, but Thomas Jefferson introduced America to macaroni and cheese at a White House dinner in 1802, and the rest IS history. When the flavors of this dish saturate your taste buds, any concerns about caloric excess will fade away, lost in your enjoyment of the pasta! Probably a significant amount of American obesity derives from the decadence of macaroni noodles baked into that matrix of cheese, eggs and milk. Besides cakes, pies and cookies, it was one of the only things that elicited an enthusiastic “Oh boy!” when my mom announced its presence on the menu. We recently made it for some visiting European friends who “oooohed and aaaaahed “ their way through several servings each.
However, too often macaroni and cheese appears in a lunch buffet in some almost unrecognizable, bland and bloated form. And let’s not talk about the boxed varieties. But this recipe is different. I admit it, I took some liberties with my version, that I invented as a starving college student. It’s different from Mr. Jefferson’s, and even my mother’s original recipe: I added celery and mushrooms. I suspect, though, that you’ll agree the new ingredients bring it to a higher level. Scoff if you must (I’m sure that Mr. Jefferson would not), or even skip (don’t do it!) an additional crucial ingredient, Velveeta “cheese,” another appropriately American original that imparts inexplicably unforgettable flavor to the mix.
WHITE HOUSE MACARONI AND CHEESE
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)
1 box of macaroni noodles (elbows, or another short shape)
4-5 large celery stalks
8-12 oz of white or cremini mushrooms
½ pound or more of high-end cheeses [emmental, mozzarella, manchego, roquefort, camembert – choose two of your favorite(s)]
½ pound or more of Velveeta “cheese”
1 + 1/2 cups of milk
½ tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
Preheat the oven to 450 F. Cook and drain the macaroni. Rinse the vegetables and dice them and the cheeses into macaroni-sized pieces. Rub a large casserole dish with butter and fill it with layers of the ingredients. Put pasta, celery and mushrooms in each layer, and an amount of cheese to your taste. Don’t skimp on the cheese! Cover the top with breadcrumbs.
Beat the eggs with a fork, then add the milk and spices and beat a bit more. Pour the liquid mixture over the casserole and put it in the oven; reduce the heat to 400 F and bake until you observe the sauce bubbling up to the top, 45 min to an hour.
ENJOY! (and don’t feel guilty!)
to print the recipe, click here
Comments: Make sure to cook enough macaroni. I always prepare a full bag or box, and save any extra for lunch another time. The amount of milk and eggs somewhat depends on the size of your baking dish, and it might take a little trial and error to perfect your own amounts. I’ve given amounts that work for about a 10″ deep casserole, like the one in the picture. I want to see the liquids bubbling up to the top of the pasta just at the end of the cooking time.
ONE YEAR AGO: For the love of bread
4-5 talos de salsao
1.5 xicara de cogumelos brancos ou cremini
450g de queijos [emmental, mussarela, manchego, roquefort, camembert – escolher dois de seus favoritos]
450g de queijo tipo Velveeta
1 + 1 / 2 xícaras de leite
½ colher de chá de paprika defumada (ou comum)
1 colher de chá de sal
½ colher de chá de pimenta do reino
1 / 8 colher de chá de pimenta caiena
farinha de rosca
Bata os ovos com um garfo, adicione o leite e os temperos e bata mais um pouco. Despeje a mistura líquida sobre a tigela e coloque no forno bem quente. Asse ate’ que o molho comece a borbulhar no topo (45 minutos a 1 hora).
15 thoughts on “WHITE HOUSE MACARONI AND CHEESE”
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This is seriously delicious sounding mac and cheese.
It is very tasty indeed, it surprised me how well the celery goes with it – freshens it all up…
I’ve never added eggs to mac and cheese, so I have to try it. The toasted breadcrumbs on top look delectable. This looks very hard to resist!
The basic recipe was from his Mom, using Joy of Cooking’s method, probably the first edition. He “inherited” that book, and of course, we both treasure it!
The only boxed macaroni I buy is a huge one from Costco, do you have a weight on the one you used? From the comments it seems you go by estimation, saving some for other uses. I do like it very moist so I’d hate to use too much.
He cooked a full box – 1 pound size – but used perhaps 3/4 of it in the recipe. If you like it very moist, maybe you should reduce it even further, say 1/2 pound?
good morning sally!
thank you so much for your inspiration and culinary creations that make us happy every time! i discovered your blog short time ago via celia ‘s suggestion (fig jam & lime cordial) and i ‘m truly happy for it, for every small or big “wonder” you cordially and marvellously convey to us through your blog. i enjoy it with all my heart! i found this recipe familiar , since my mom used to prepare this as a variation of our greek pastitsio! however i ‘m joyfully looking forward to preparing yours! another amazing thing for me and my brother is the “cantinho brasileiro” part of your blog, since my brother cooks wonderfully, and we are both very fond of the brazilian language & culture. he learned by himself portuguese (as a college student), myself doesn’t speak the language, (i ‘m fluently in uk/us-fr-it ones) but i manage read basic br-pt texts. i’m trying these days to find books of clarice lispector, i ‘d prefer the original texts in brazilian portuguese lang. of course! pls feel free to email me in english 🙂 whenever you wish, that be warmly welcomed! thx and greetings from greece!
Well, Gina… Because of you I’m going to be walking around the whole day with a huge smile on my face! Thanks so much for your comment, I am so glad you enjoy this virtual place…
Greece – I went to Athens (and a few days to Paros), back in 1994, and fell in love with it from the first moment! My dream (one of them…) is to go back there with my husband, I absolutely MUST go to Greece again. The people, the food, the scenery, the blue skies, the blue sea, the white houses, a trip I’ll never forget! How wonderful it must be to live there!
Thanks again for your comment!
thx for your kind answer! the funny part is that 5 yrs ago due to the admission of my appt on the ppc s.a./division aeg. islnds-www.ppc.gr-as an ee&cs engineer) i left the “metropolitana” (athens) and i reside not to paros, but to kos, and i feel happy for it , a new wonderful life circle has just begun; so there is a chance we meet some nice day! 🙂
Thank you, winter’s here, so soon on our menu.
Perfect dish for the winter indeed… if it’s going to be cold and gray outside, let’s just enjoy some comfort food to compensate… 🙂
Your version looks a lot more glamorous than the macaroni cheese they served in my infant school. I have to confess I was traumatised by the stuff as a child and have never bought macaroni since… but saying that I have had the Greek version that Gina refers to ‘pastitsio’ above and so maybe it is now time for a rethink after all these years 🙂
I absolutely love mac & cheese. I could live on it, except if I did I’d weigh 500 lbs.
The best mac & cheese I’ve ever had is at Tipsy Pig in SF. It’s really decadent but SO GOOD: http://bit.ly/fSy1sh
Made it the day before yesterday, loved how the celery tasted with the pasta and the mushrooms, unusual addition, I think, but it worked great,
I would have never considered diced celery, but it made this dish! Well, the cheeses did not hurt either
your husband is a genius!