Vermont is what we call a macaroni and cheese recipe that I adapted from a web page for Vermont visitors. It uses Vermont sharp cheddar. I don’t, I like to use Tex Mex or Nacho shredded cheese. It also had too much butter to be healthy so I changed it to be a little more to our tastes. The basic recipe is below. I also add things depending on my mood. Some add ins include tomato, spinach, or peas. The picture shows a version I made with diced stewed tomatoes and some of the milk replaced by tomato juice from the canned tomatoes, and with fresh spinach leaves.
The recipe serves 4 as a meal, 6 as a side.
Use a 2 quart (2 litre) casserole dish, no lid.
2 cups (500 ml) elbow macaroni
1 to 2 cups (250 to 500 ml) shredded cheese for the topping
1/4 cup (62.5 ml) olive oil
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) salt
1/4 tsp (1.25 ml) ground black pepper
1/4 cup (62.5 ml) flour
1 3/4 cup (437.5 ml) milk (I use 1%)
1 1/4 cup (312.5 ml) shredded cheese (I use Tex Mex or Nacho blend)
Cook the macaroni, adding vegetables (not tomatoes) to the pot if you wish. This will cook about 10 minutes, with 5 minutes to bring the water to a boil (15 minutes total).
While the macaroni is cooking, pour the olive oil in a sauce pan and add the salt and pepper. Heat the oil on medium-low for a minute or so (don’t let it get so hot it’s smoking). Add the flour and stir until the mixture is smooth (my dad used to call this the “rue” when making gravy – hint: this is also how you make gravy).
Remove the pan from the heat and pour in the milk, stirring the whole time. If you are adding diced tomatoes and juice this is when and where you do that. When it is stirred in and smooth return the pan to the heat, and gradually increase the heat to medium-high, stirring constantly. When it is thick and bubbly, remove from heat and stir in the shredded cheese.
At this point the macaroni should be ready to drain. You should check the doneness of the macaroni as you are cooking the sauce as it’s better that the macaroni be a little under-cooked than over cooked. Drain the macaroni and put in the casserole dish. Pour in the cheese sauce and mix well. Sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese over the top, amount based on your taste.
Cook in a 375 degree F / 190 celcius oven for 25 minutes. At 25 minutes, remove from oven, sprinkle with paprika and return for 5 more minutes. This is done when it’s bubbly and the top is nicely browned.
Total time to make is approximately one hour. Don’t ask me how many calories this has. I don’t want to know. 🙂