Oh my, but today was a wet, cold, gloomy, and miserable day. It wasn’t stormy or anything – no driving rain – no whipping winds — but those things at least make a rainy day exciting. Instead, it was just miserable. Not my mood, mind you, which was fine – but the grey chilly day didn’t make walking around in it enjoyable at all. What better on a crappy cold day than a steaming hot bowl of homemade macaroni and cheese? Why, nothing. Nothing at all…
Rainy Day Macaroni & Cheese
2/3 cup elbow noodles (cooked in boiling, salted water for 2 minutes less than the package directions suggest)
3 oz sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup milk, plus more as needed
1 tsp flour
2 tbs butter
garlic powder, paprika, sea salt, black pepper
1 slice white bread
This is the most basic homemade mac & cheese I make. OK – scratch that: it’s more basic when I just use pre-made breadcrumbs, like the Panko I found right after I finished making my own. No matter — making these breadcrumbs was essentially like making the same piece of toast twice. I chuck a dry piece of bread right on the rack in my oven set on 400°. I flip it a couple times until it’s nice and toasted – like 4 minutes total.
Then I spread them out on a lined cookie sheet, and put them back in the oven for another 4 minutes. I give them a good stir before setting them aside while I finish the macaroni (the noodles for which I’ve already cooked…).
I transform my roux into the bechamel, a mother sauce, by adding my milk, which I whisk in nicely and bring to a gentle thickening simmer. Finally, I transform the bechamel into mornay sauce by adding most of my cheddar cheese (reserving a tiny bit for garnish) and blending well until melted.
With a crunchy breadcrumb topping, a sharp cheddar cheese sauce, and tender toothsome pasta, this is the perfect quick and simple macaroni and cheese after a long day trudging through cold damp fog banks and spitting rain. I dig into my bowl with gusto, and finally feel the chill in my bones being chased away…