I believe that I was in college before I'd ever had macaroni and cheese from the infamous blue box. My mother always made it from scratch. Honestly, there's a time and place for everything, and as far as I'm concerned, the time and place for the blue box is the after party. (I'm afraid to admit how many times I was invited to an after party based on my ability to whip up blue box mac and cheese). Now mom's mac and cheese? That's for when you need true comfort. And am I in need of comfort. In just two weeks I'm having surgery on that damn torn ankle ligament. That will be followed by SIX weeks of cast/crutches/no weight bearing. So yesterday I put some cheesy goodness away for a grumpy day. A frustrated day. A day when I want my cast off, when I'm hot or itchy or otherwise annoyed. And it is waiting in the freezer to cheer me up. I'll be grateful. Not nearly as grateful as I'd be if my mom were there but it will do in a pinch.
MOM'S MACARONI AND CHEESE
1/2 lb elbow macaroni
1 T flour
3 T butter
1/2 C milk (whole milk is best, but any will do)
1 T mustard (I use whatever I can grab first)
1 1/2 C grated cheddar cheese
salt and pepper
Fill a large pot with water, toss in a healthy pinch of salt and bring to a boil. When it reaches a rolling boil, toss in the pasta and cook until done 8-10 minutes. Drain, and set the pasta aside in the colander. In the pan you made the pasta in, melt the butter and add the flour. Mix well and cook on very low heat for about four minutes. Turn off the heat and add the milk and the mustard. Whisk to blend. Return to heat. I always add back the cheese and cooked macaroni alternately, stirring to combine in between each addition. Add salt and pepper to taste at this point. If you are feeling in a hurry, or lazy, you may stop here, and serve from the pan.
To make it even more delicious:
Spray a casserole dish, add the mac and cheese. Top with bread crumbs (bonus points if you want to drizzle a bit of melted butter over those crumbs). Bake at 325 for 20-30 minutes.