I had such a craving for Macaroni & Cheese last night. So starved for it, that I found myself sitting on the kitchen floor thumbing through all my ‘Southern’ cookbooks. You know the ones… those that feature fried chicken, filling comfort foods and big, calorie-laden casseroles. That’s when I grabbed P-Dub’s book and immediately opened it up to her Mac & Cheese recipe. It took a while, but I was finally gobbling it up at 9:30p. Ree says that it makes 8 servings, but unless you’re a giant, this thing will feed an army. Or several hungry cowboys and kiddos.
Macaroni & Cheese (pg. 96-97)
Source: The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond
Yields: 8 servings
4 c dry macaroni
1 egg, beaten
1/4 c butter (1/2 stick or 4 tbsp)
1/4 c all-purpose flour
2-1/2 c whole milk
2 heaping tsp dry mustard (or more to taste)
1 lb cheddar or other desired cheese, grated
1/2 tsp salt (or more to taste)
1/2 tsp seasoned salt (or more to taste)
1 tsp ground black pepper
Cook the macaroni until very firm. The macaroni should be too firm to eat right out of the pot. (If you’re in a hurry and don’t want to bake the macaroni and cheese, cook it now until it’s done.) Drain.
In a small bowl, beat the egg. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and butter a large oval or rectangular baking dish. In a large pot, melt the butter and sprinkle in the flour. Whisk it together over medium-low heat. Cook for 5 minutes, whisking constantly. Don’t let it burn. Pour in the milk. Add the mustard and whisk until smooth. Cook for 5 minutes or until very thick, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to low.
To temper the egg, slowly pour 1/4 cup of the sauce into the beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid cooking the egg. Whisk until smooth. Pour the egg mixture into the sauce, whisking until smooth. Add in all but 1/2 cup of the cheese and stir until melted.
Add the seasonings. Taste the sauce and add more salt and seasoned salt as needed. Do not undersalt or you’ll regret it for the rest of your life! Pour in the cooked, drained macaroni and stir to combine. Serve immediately or pour into the baking dish and top with remaining cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until bubbly and golden on top. Serve to hungry humans.