Abby’s Mac & Cheese
Amanda, our Tasting Room Manager, and hostess extraordinaire has a special tradition with her Grandmother Abby. Each holiday she asks her Grandmother to write out a family recipe. So, in honour of the Taste Washington Celebration this year, the cooked up a Mac & Cheese Casserole...which pairs well with a Cabernet Sauvignon, of course!
"Here's Abby’s Mac & Cheese with Commentary by Abby (The Matriarch and smartest lady I know)" - Amanda
- 2 Quarts Water
- 2 Cups Dry Macaroni Noodles
- 3 cups Grated Cheddar Cheese: to be split between roux, and layers
- 1 tsp. Salt
- 1 tsp Mrs Dash Seasoning (optional, can be left out or substituted for your favorite spice or just black pepper)
- ½ Cup Bread Crumbs
- 5 Tbsps Butter split between two layers
- 4 Tbsps White Wheat Flour
- 3 Cups Milk
- ½ to 1 cup Half & Half
- Preheat oven to 350 Degrees
- Bring Water to a boil in a large saucepan, and add macaroni noodles. Cook for about ten min, or until noodles are al dente, or ever so slightly uncooked (they will finish cooking in the oven). Strain, and set aside.
- In a large saucepan (“Amanda, you can set the noodles in a bowl, and use the same saucepan here so you have less dishes in the end”), place 4 tbsps. of butter on medium heat. Once butter is melted, sprinkle 4 tbsps. into butter (not all in one spot, Amanda- sprinkle it all around like spreading salt melt). Combine thoroughly, and continue to stir as the mixture starts to bubble. (this is called making a “roux”). This process will take about 4 to 5 min. (“it’s some chemical thing that helps the flour not taste pasty…I can’t remember what it’s called right now”) It’s important to keep mixing so the roux doesn’t thicken prematurely (it will thicken in oven).
- Add 1 cup of shredded cheese to roux, salt, pepper, and/or Mrs. Dash. Stir until cheese incorporates and melts. At this point, take your last tbsp. of butter (“Yes it’s not supposed to be heathy, Amanda”) and grease the bottom of a glass casserole pan.
- Take 1/3 of your Roux/Cheese mixture and pour it into the bottom of the greased casserole dish. Take half of your drained macaroni and layer over the cheese. Incorporate it so all the noodles are wet. Sprinkle a layer of grated cheese (about a cup) over the macaroni. Pour 1/3 of the cheese/roux over this layer, place first half of noodles, another cup of cheese, and remainder of the rue. Now take additional milk (or half and half, depending on how health conscientious you’re trying to be) and distribute evenly over top of casserole. The goal here is to make sure all the noodles are wet and won’t dry out during the baking process. Take your remaining cheese and layer over entire dish, and finish with bread crumbs.
- Cook casserole at 350 Degrees for 30 min, and finish at 375 for the final 15 (“this isn’t a science either, you just have to SEE it”.
- Let cool for five min, and serve!