It’s so easy to open a box of instant macaroni and cheese, cook it and have it on the table in ten minutes. Then you taste it, look at the picture on the box and think, “Is this it?! It tastes like cardboard and dried cheese!”

You might start daydreaming about how good it would taste if you made it from scratch.

Macaroni and cheese seems as American as apple pie and baseball. But is this really the case? It’s first recorded recipe was in a book called “The Experienced English Housekeeper” by Elizabeth Raffald published in 1769. Thomas Jefferson was credited to introducing it to this country after eating a version of it in Europe when he was working there. He even served it at a state dinner at the White House in 1802.

There are many versions of this classic dish. You can add bacon, ham, lobster or Italian sausage with tomatoes and peppers. You can also make it with spicy buffalo chicken, broccoli or jalapenos. It is traditionally made with elbow macaroni, but I prefer to make it with either shells or rotini noodles for a better presentation. No matter how you make it, we Americans have adopted it as one of our national treasures. Here is a recipe for classic macaroni and cheese.

Bon Appetite!

Classic Baked

Macaroni And Cheese

Serves six

8 ounces dried pasta (elbow, shells or rotini)

4 Tablespoons butter

4 Tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoon dried mustard (or yellow mustard if you don’t have dried)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper

2 cups cream or half and half

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup shredded Swiss cheese

1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Cook macaroni until almost done. Drain in a colander, rinse with hot water and set aside.

Oil a 2 quart baking dish and pre heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium sauce pan melt the butter and add the flour to make a roux. Add mustard, salt and pepper and stir constantly for five minutes.

Add the cream and stir constantly until thickened over medium heat until thickened. Be careful not to scorch this mixture. Add the cheeses and stir until melted adding more cream if it gets too thick.

Combine with the cooked pasta and turn into the baking dish. Top with more shredded cheese.

Bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown and bubbly.

Serve this as a main course with green beans and a salad or as a side with fried chicken.

Send any comments, questions or recipe requests to Chef Mary at msgolde@yahoo.com

Chef Mary Goldman is living the good life in Greeneville, Tennessee, surrounded by beautiful mountains, an abundance of fresh produce, herbs, honey and locally gown meats — a chef’s dream!

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