This recipe quickly became one of my favorite mac and cheese recipes (and I've found some good ones!). Super easy and completely satisfying on its own or as a great side. Having it as a side makes for more leftovers which is always a plus!
Mac and Cheese
(Source: Southern Living, October 2009)
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (10-oz.) block extra sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (optional)
1/2 (16-oz.) package elbow macaroni, cooked
1. Preheat oven to 400°. Microwave milk at HIGH for 1 1/2 minutes. Melt butter in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-low heat; whisk in flour until smooth. Cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute.
2. Gradually whisk in warm milk, and cook, whisking constantly, 5 minutes or until thickened.
3. Whisk in salt, black pepper, 1 cup shredded cheese, and, if desired, red pepper until smooth; stir in pasta. Spoon pasta mixture into a lightly greased 2-qt. baking dish; top with remaining cheese. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until golden and bubbly.
I just prepared everything on the stovetop in a cast iron skillet so I could put the whole thing directly in the oven. No need to dirty another baking dish! I also used whole wheat rotini pasta I had in the pantry instead of elbow macaroni.