Friday, May 27, 2011

Tré Threat Mac & Cheese

I learned the secret of mac & cheese from my friend Chris Tilghman, a truly gifted Southern BBQ Pit Master and fine Home Beer Brewer.  His sister shared it with him. Here it is in Loving memory of my dear friend Ted Kratter:  Ted used to hurt people to get in line to be the first at this dish at parties.

1 (16 ounce) package elbow macaroni
2 cups milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup flour
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 teaspoon pepper
16 ounces process cheese (Velveeta), melted
1 package cream cheese
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided

Cook macaroni according to package directions and drain and set aside. Meanwhile, in a large pot make a roué with butter and flour, cook until totally melted, add milk (Like a Béchamel sauce) and half the velveta cheese to make a creamy cheesy sauce, add the cooked macaroni and coat all of it well.  Add Tabasco sauce and season with salt and pepper until combined. Stir in the process cheese and 1-1/2 cups of each cheddar cheese. 

This is the secret to keeping mac and cheese creamy…. It’s all about building the layers.  

Pour into a greased 3-qt. baking dish one thin layer of noodles, then layer the Velveta, shredded Parmesan and cheddar cheese, then add another layer of noodles, and top with remaining cheeses.  (If using a deep dish pan, you can make it even creamier if you make a little extra Béchamel cheese sauce and top it with that before you add the shredded cheeses) I didn’t make a breadcrumb topping for this one, but it’s good with it too!  Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is melted and edges are bubbly.  

Writing in bacon is not only the nicest thing you can do for someone, but REALLY EASY!  Just put strips of raw bacon between paper towels, form the letters and cook for 2 minutes on high, PERFECT BACON WORDS!

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