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Macaroni and Cheese | www.tasteandtellblog.com

When I think of southern food, one of the first things I think of is Macaroni and Cheese. I don’t know why, but that is what pops into my head. So of course, when I saw that this month’s Cookbook of the Month cookbook had a mac and cheese recipe, I wanted to try it out.

The problem is, I’m pretty picky about homemade macaroni and cheese. Most of them are too dry to me. I have made quite a few versions on this blog, and while most of them have been good, I think that I am still waiting for that recipe that just blows me away.

Was this it? Unfortunately, no. It was good – nice and cheesy and not dry, but it felt like it was missing something – like it was really one-dimensional. Dare I say kind of boring?? But as I was eating some leftovers, I do have to say that Paula Deen and her fried macaroni and cheese popped into my mind. This would be the perfect macaroni and cheese to fry up the leftovers because the leftovers stick together so well. I really need to try that some day…

Recipe Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Macaroni and Cheese
from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook

serves 12

total time: 1 hour

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 pound elbow macaroni
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour3 cups milk
3 bay leaves6 cups coarsely grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese (about 1 pound)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste1 pound Gruyere or Swiss cheese, cut into 1/4-inch slices

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Fill a large pasta pot with water. Bring the water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon salt. Add the macaroni and cook until al dente. Drain and return to the pasta pot.In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour and stir together until smooth. Stir for 3 minutes. Add the milk, bay leaves, and 1 teaspoon salt and stir until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Add half of the cheddar cheese and stir until it is melted. Turn off the heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pour the cheese sauce over the cooked pasta and stir until the sauce is distributed evenly in the pasta. Spread half of the macaroni and cheese in the bottom of a 3-quart casserole dish and flatten into an even layer. Sprinkle half of the remaining cheddar on top, then cover with half of the Gruyere. Add the rest of the pasta, flattening into an even layer, then cover with the remaining cheddar then the remaining Gruyere.

Bake in the middle of the preheated oven until hot and bubbly, about 30 minutes. If desired, transfer to the top rack during the last 5 minutes to brown the top.

Serve immediately.

And since so many of you commented about the Balloon Festival when I mentioned it the other day, I thought I’d share a few photos with you. You can see them all HERE (but beware – there are a ton of photos!)

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18 Responses to Cookbook of the Month Recipe – Macaroni and Cheese

  1. Joanne says:

    I'm sorry this wasn't the IT mac and cheese that you were looking for. I'm sure it's out there…somewhere.

    The balloons are so pretty!

  2. dinnersanddreams.net says:

    It sounds like a recipe worth bookmarking. Yum!

  3. Rosa's Yummy Yums says:

    A lovely Mac & Cheese. Beautiful balloons!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  4. Rebecca says:

    I'm picky about my mac n cheese, too. My favorite recipe comes from America's Test Kitchen and is similar to this one, except leave out the bay leaves and add 1 t of dry mustard. Good luck!

  5. Kim says:

    The balloon festival looks like a great time (the balloons are so pretty too).

    The macaroni and cheese looks delicious, but I know what you mean. I find that I almost always like the macaroni and cheese best before it is baked.

  6. Susi says:

    I've tried countless Mac and cheese recipes and I'm still on the hunt for that "perfect" one. Maybe we are both looking for the same one ;o)

  7. The Comfort of Cooking says:

    Be still my heart! I LOVE macaroni and cheese, and have just recently gotten into new flavors. My husband likes the old standby with cheddar, but smoked gouda is surprisingly good too! Great recipe and beautiful food and balloon photos, Deb!

  8. biz319 says:

    We have a balloon launch not far from our house – they are so low we can talk to them if we are grilling – love the pics!

    I always add dry mustard to my mac n cheese – I've also made a low carb version subbing cauliflower for noodles – it is so good – I need to make this again!

    http://biz319.wordpress.com/2009/07/30/pork-chops-with-cauliflower-mac-n-cheese/

  9. bonnie says:

    I heard about this cookbook, sorry about the mac we are picky also..great pics of the balloons

    sweeltife

  10. lavienouveau says:

    oh man, this looks awesome!

  11. Monet says:

    Macaroni and cheese is one of my guilty pleasures…and this looks so so good! I am still searching for my perfect recipe too. Thanks for sharing such beautiful balloon photos too!
    http://anecdotesandapples.weebly.com

  12. grace says:

    whee! i love the balloons. :)
    seems like a pretty plain-jane batch of mac and cheese, but that doesn't mean i wouldn't scarf it down. :)

  13. kat says:

    It sounds like its got the basics but it's missing the little things I like to put in my mac & cheese like dried mustard & caramelized onions.

  14. eatme_delicious says:

    Yum I can never turn down mac & cheese!! I've made so many variations on it just using the recipe my mom taught me. My favourite fancy mac & cheese is this one though: http://www.eatmedelicious.com/2007/06/macaroni-cheese-happiness.html

  15. GWACK says:

    I just made mac 'n cheese tonight and added bacon. Yum. Also if you'd like to try fried mac 'n cheese they have it at Cheesecake Factory. So delicious and tastes great with the marinara they serve it on.

  16. Memória says:

    Wow. I am so sorry this dish was good to you because it required a pound of Gruyère! Goodness!! I second the addition of dry mustard.

  17. steph says:

    Those balloons are awesome!!

    Have you tried Alton Brown's stove-top mac & cheese? It is really good and creamy. Probably one of the best I've tried. Like you – I am in search of THE recipe.

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