Easy mac cheese recipe based on an authentic American Civil War era recipe for maccaroni cheese.
- 4 cups whole milk
- 1/2 pound elbow macaroni pasta (2 to 2 1/2 cups)
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 2 cups, packed, grated cheddar cheese (about 1/2 pound)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup bread crumbs
- Cayenne (optional)
1 Cook the macaroni in milk: Heat the milk in a large saucepan until steamy. Stir in the dry macaroni pasta. Let come to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer. Pay attention while the macaroni is cooking in the milk as the milk may foam up and boil over if the milk gets too hot.
Cook the macaroni for 15 minutes or until done. The macaroni should absorb almost all of the milk.
2 Make the sauce with butter, cheese, spices: Preheat oven to 400°F. As soon as the macaroni is close to being done, melt the butter in a separate saucepan, stir in the grated cheese, black pepper to taste and a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg.
3 Mix the sauce and cooked macaroni: Once the cheese has melted, pour the sauce into the macaroni and milk mixture and stir to combine. Taste and add salt if needed.
4 Top with breadcrumbs and bake: Place macaroni and cheese mixture into a baking dish. Sprinkle the top with breadcrumbs. Sprinkle lightly with cayenne (if using). Bake in a 400°F oven for 20 minutes or until the top is lightly browned.