Macaroni and cheese is a popular casserole on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. In fact, in the United States every family has their own unique recipe for this greatly cherished, ubiquitous dish. Macaroni and cheese was the first casserole which I baked in childhood. My brother and sister favor this family recipe, although my sister sometimes substitutes rotini or shell (conchiglie) pasta for the traditional elbow macaroni, usually adds minced parsley, and occasionally adds camembert cheese. My family's recipe has attracted many admirers so sharing it is my gift for year-round Mother's Day, in remembrance of my mother and my grandmothers.
Baked Cheese and Macaroni: My Family's Macaroni and Cheddar and Parmesan Cheese Casserole Recipe
Generally made with Cheddar, baked macaroni and cheese casserole can be a main or side dish. This recipe uses both Cheddar and macaroni's historic cheese of choice: Parmesan.
macaroni and cheese with camembert cheese
Recipe for My Family's Baked Macaroni and Cheddar and Parmesan Cheese Casserole
Prep time 20 min - Total time 45 min
Ingredients for 6 servings
Cheddar cheese holds this delicious casserole together and blends with Parmesan cheese in an exceptional topping.
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour, unsifted
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
2 1/2 cups milk
2 cups freshly grated Cheddar cheese
- Note: 1 1/2 cups to be mixed with macaroni, 1/2 cup to be mixed with Parmesan for topping
8 ounces elbow macaroni, cooked 6 minutes, drained
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1. In a 2-quart saucepan, melt butter over low heat.
- Stir in the following order and until smooth: flour; salt; mustard; pepper.
- Remove from heat, and gradually stir in milk until smooth.
2. Return to burner, and, stirring constantly, cook over medium heat, about 10 minutes or until thickened.
- Remove from heat.
- Stir in 1 1/2 cups of freshly grated Cheddar cheese until melted.
3. Turn cooked and drained macaroni into a 1-1/2 cup casserole.
- Pour Cheddar cheese mixture over macaroni, mixing well.
- Mix remaining 1/2 cup freshly grated, unmelted Cheddar cheese with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for sprinkling over the top of the casserole.
- Bake in the oven at 375°F (190°C, Gas mark 5) for 25 minutes, or until the topping is lightly browned.
closeup of crusty macaroni and cheese
Macaroni and Cheese Together
Baked macaroni and cheese casserole can be considered a beloved, respected, widespread dish among English language speakers. There may be different ways of identifying the dish despite the common linguistic base of all English language speakers within the British English of the British Isles. But all identifications refer to an attractive, easy-to-make, nutritious dish which goes well with a number of drink and serving choices
The dish is called macaroni pie in the English of the islands of the Caribbean Sea. It is designated as macaroni (and) cheese throughout Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. In the United States, it will be labeled as:
- Baked mac and cheese;
- Baked mac and cheese casserole;
- Baked macaroni and cheese;
- Baked macaroni and cheese casserole;
- Mac 'n' cheese;
- Mac and cheese;
- Macaroni and cheese casserole.
Virginia-born and bred second U.S President Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743-July 4, 1826) became an early enthusiast of macaroni and cheese during his visits to Europe. President Jefferson even planned to start his own macaroni-making business. Although appearing not to have succeeded in the culinary сиром enterprise, the President was reputed to have served the dish with imported macaroni and Parmesan cheese.
During the eighteenth century, the baked dish macaroni and cheese indeed was considered welcome on the dining tables of Europe's cultural, political and socioeconomic leaders. One explanation for the dish's key incorporation within fancy dinners by Europeans of money, power and standing was the influence of a fourteenth-century cookbook. Pasta recipes such as macaroni and cheese were gathered together into the anonymously written Liber de Coquina ("The Book of Cookery"), which survives amongst the holdings of the Bibliothèque Nationale ("National Library") in Paris, France.
The dish likewise developed a lasting reputation in the nineteenth-century United States through its inclusion in The Virginia Housewife published in 1824 by Mary Randolph (August 9, 1762 - January 23, 1828), cousin to President Jefferson.
mac'n'cheese lover, Thomas Jefferson: earliest known portrait, painted during his visit with John Adams (October 30, 1735 - July 4, 1826) to London, March 12 - April 26, 1786
1786 oil on canvas by Mather Brown (Oct 7, 1761-May 25, 1831) ~ National Portrait Gallery
My special thanks to:
- Talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the Internet;
- Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University for superior on-campus and on-line resources.
closeup of variation of macaroni and cheese made with shell pasta (conchiglie)
Harbury, Katharine E. Colonial Virginia's Cooking Dynasty. Columbia SC: University of South Carolina Press, 2004.
The Virginia house-wife by Mary Randolph: A facsimile of the first edition, 1824, along with additional material from the editions of 1825 and 1828, thus presenting a complete text. With historical notes and commentaries by Karen Hess. First Cookbooks of America Series. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1984.
Serventi, Silvano and Françoise Sabban. Pasta: the story of a universal food. Translated by Antony Shugaar. New York: Columbia University Press, 2002.
macaroni and cheese: appreciated by children and enjoyed throughout life
the end which is also the beginning