I love macaroni and cheese. It stands comfortably in my top 5 favorite foods. I have a system of judging how much I like a certain food: If I would eat it cold as well as heated, it's a winner. (e.g. the cajun chicken pasta recipe I have is excellent cold. As is the beef stroganoff) This macaroni and cheese, while weird in texture when cold, is deeeelicious hot or cold. MMm.
I made this recipe as a hybrid from 2 other baked mac and cheese recipes I'd tried over the years. One from my good friend Mandy, and one my mom passed to me from someone at our old church like 20 years ago. I took the elements I liked from each and created this very simple recipe.
4 Cups elbow macaroni (I prefer cavatapi- it's fun shaped and holds the cheese well)
5 Tbls butter
5 Tblp all-purpose flour
5 Cups milk (I prefer whole milk, because yum, but even skim works really well)
2 Tbls salt
1 Lb grated cheese (I use mild cheddar)
Preheat oven to 350
Cook pasta according to package directions, drain, then rinse in hot water. Set aside.
Melt butter in a medium-large sauce pan.
Add the flour and cook until it is well mixed and slightly browned.
Add the milk and stir constantly until boiling and thickened. (Somewhere between 5-10 minutes. I've never timed it)
Add the salt, mix. Add the cheese and stir until it has fully melted.
Mix the pasta into the cheese sauce and pour into a 13x9 glass baking dish.
Bake 30 minutes or until browned and bubbling at the edges.