Simple Mac & Cheese

As a side, serves ~6-7 people

1 box (1 lb) gluten free elbow/macaroni pasta

3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour
1 ½ cups whole milk
½ cup heavy cream
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar
1 cup mixed shredded cheese
½ tsp white pepper
Salt, to taste

¼ cup mixed shredded cheese
⅓ cup gluten free bread crumbs

  • Lightly grease a baking dish and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Cook the pasta in boiling water, according to the instructions on the package. Drain the pasta and set aside.
  • In a stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and stir into the melted butter and until all combined and the butter and flour have formed a paste.
  • Add the milk and heavy cream by slowly drizzling them in, one at a time, stirring to combine constantly. The clumps from the butter and flour should dissipate into a smooth consistency.
  • Add both kinds of cheese, stirring until the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth again.
  • Add the white pepper and salt, and stir to combine.
  • Add the drained pasta to the cheese sauce and stir until all of the pasta is coated.
  • Pour the cheesy pasta into the prepared baking dish. Top with the ¼ cup shredded cheese, then the bread crumbs. Those amounts should be just enough to lightly cover the surface of the pasta, so adjust accordingly if you’re using a different size baking dish.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling and the top is just starting to brown.
  • Remove from the oven and serve.

One of my faults, which you will already know if you read our food posts here on the blog, is that I really like making cold weather foods — soups, roasted vegetables, etc. — in the heat of summer. Those foods are delicious any time of year, but sometimes, heating up an oven for an hour of roasting just doesn’t seem too smart in July.

But do you know what month it is now?

February. Prime cold weather food time.

It’s currently above freezing, but barely. It’s been overcast and grey for much of the morning, and only now that we’ve reached mid-afternoon has the expected snow started falling. I love snowy days here. The dark silhouettes of the trees stand out against the light grey sky, and the snow falls against a backdrop of dark, rolling hills around our house.

Even though it isn’t too bitingly cold today, we figured a full day at home with some snow outside called for a fire in our woodstove. Relaxing in front of the fire, dog tired from two walks and much chasing after mice, all three of us are feeling pretty good right now.

And what could make that feeling even better? Cheese, of course.

To go with our snowy, fire-in-the-woodstove, watching the Puppy Bowl Sunday, we decided to make some mac and cheese. It’s the perfect comfort food for this sleepy, cozy day. This is a really basic recipe that would work really well as a basic side dish. Tonight, we’ll probably enjoy it as our whole meal, because it feels like that sort of lazy day. But since it’s pretty simple, it could easily be adapted with more unique flavors or bulked up with some veggies and protein to make it feel like a whole meal.

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