16 oz. dry elbow macaroni
4 cups 2% milk (could use skim or whole)
4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (pre-shredded is fine, but doesn't melt as nicely as block cheese you shred yourself)
1 stick butter, NOT margarine :o)
1/2 cup flour
2 tsp table salt--I add this once the water boils for the noodles (to taste)
2 tsp Lawry's Seasoning Salt (to taste)
1. Cook macaroni according to package directions. While cooking, shred your cheese and measure out all your ingredients...set them all by the stove top ready to be added. Once noodles are cooked, place in strainer and place hot pot back on the burner. When I first made this, I tried to cook the noodles and the sauce at the same time, but it's just easier to this way!
2. Over medium heat, place whole stick of butter in your pot.
Julia Child would be so proud, a whole stick of butter! Let it melt and get frothy.
Add your 1/2 cup flour all at once and whisk together immediately. This is why you need your ingredients measured and by the stove top!
The butter and flour will make a wonderful paste (roux).
Let it bubble while you whisk for about a minute....then add the Seasoning Salt. The Seasoning Salt was a happy accident, but gives it such a wonderful taste! Don't you love how I measure! Whisk together until all mixed together.
3. While continuing to whisk, add milk, about 1 cup at a time. You do NOT want to add all at once, for 2 reasons: the milk might curdle and it will take forever for the sauce to heat through. Keep whisking until your sauce begins to thicken. It takes about 5 minutes, but just keep whisking :o)
4. Once your sauce has thickened, add your cheese all at once.
Glorious sharp cheddar cheese!!
Continue to whisk until the cheese melts in the sauce. This can happen anytime between 1-5 minutes. Just keep it up until you raise your whisk and there are no more cheese shreds left!
5. Add macaroni to the sauce mixture and mix. Pour into a 9 x 13 pan and cover with shredded cheese. Bake at 375 until golden brown, or until you just can't stand waiting any more and have to have some! There are times I will reduce the milk a bit and not bake at all, but serve straight from the pot! If you plan to make this ahead of time and refrigerate, increase your milk by about 1/4 cup to prevent it from being dry when you re-heat.
There you have it! Sorry for the long post, but I hope you enjoy!