The simple macaroni cheese is an easy-to-cook, amazingly mouth-watering item made with nicely cooked elbow macaroni and a yummy blend of cheeses. It also has a delightful creamy flavor for the light cream and butter used in it. It consumes very little time, but you will definitely remember the taste forever. Here is the simple macaroni cheese recipe for you:
Preparation Time Required: 7 minutes
Cooking Time Required: 33 minutes
Total Time Required: 40 minutes
Yield: serves 4 to 6
Dry and uncooked elbow macaroni (one type of macaroni pasta) – 8 ounces
Cheddar cheese blend (or any other similar blend of cheeses) – 8 ounces (shredded)
Milk – 4 cups (heated until hot and sticky, but not bubbling)
Corn starch – 1 teaspoon
Unsalted butter (or margarine) – 4 tablespoons (slashed into small pieces)
Flour – 4 tablespoons
Salt – (1/2) teaspoon
Black pepper – (1/4) teaspoon (freshly ground)
Lemon juice – (1/2) teaspoon
Ham – (1/4) cup (sliced into ¼-inch cubes)
Light cream or half-and-half – 1(1/4) cups
Red Leicester cheese (for topping)
Water – 2 quarts
Method Of Preparation:
1. At first, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Take the baking dish and prepare it for future use by spreading butter or margarine gently and evenly onto it. Meanwhile, take a medium-sized bowl. Put the finely grated cheddar cheese (or any other similar blend of cheeses) into the bowl. Also, add the corn starch to that shredded cheese. With the help of a large spoon, blend the grated cheese and the corn starch well. Make sure that the cheese is evenly coated with the corn starch. Put the bowl aside. This method will help prevent the cheese from getting too chewy and stringy.
2. Now start cooking the dry and uncooked elbow macaroni, according to the instructions mentioned on the package. Firstly, take a thick-bottomed saucepan and pour water into it. Add salt to the water and let it boil. Once it starts boiling, put the elbow macaroni in it. Boil and cook them thoroughly. The elbow macaroni needs to be cooked so that it turns tender yet a little firm when bitten. Remove the saucepan from the heat and drain the water using a colander. Finally, rinse the boiled macaroni with hot water and keep the saucepan aside.
3. In the mean time, start preparing the sauce. Take a large cooking pan. Put small pieces of unsalted butter or margarine in the pan, and let it melt on medium flame. Add flour to the melted butter and stir continuously. Be extremely careful at this step. Only one tablespoon of flour needs to be added at a time. Also, continue whisking the mixture between each addition. Carry this on for a couple of minutes, so as not to burn.
Then, pour the milk slowly into the pan by taking the pan off the flame, and continue whisking the entire mixture in order to prevent clumping. Only half a cup of milk should be added at a time. Once the milk is used up, place the cooking pan back on the high flame. Stir the sauce gently so that it becomes thick and smooth. Now, remove the cooking pan once again from the heat and add the mixture of finely grated cheddar cheese and corn starch to the sauce. Stir the entire mixture until the cheese gets liquefied. Your cheese sauce is ready.
4. Now, put half of the drained macaroni in the already prepared baking dish. Dust a pinch of salt and some freshly ground black pepper over it. Also, add lemon juice to it. After that, pour half of the cheese sauce on the top of it. Repeat the same steps again. Place rest of the drained macaroni on the previous cheese layer; add salt, crushed black pepper and lemon juice, and then top it with the cheese sauce left behind in the cooking pan.
Sprinkle it with red Leicester cheese, ham cubes, some black pepper powder and a little butter. Pour the light cream or half-and-half over the entire thing and let it bake for at least 25 minutes. When the cheese turns brown, your simple macaroni cheese gets almost done. Give it another 1-2 minutes so that the top of the dish can crisp up. Keep a close eye on it to make sure that the top does not get burnt. Now, take the baking dish out of the oven, cool it for some time, and then serve.