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Easy Cheesy Macaroni

Easy Cheesy Macaroni
The sauce for the macaroni and cheese is thickened with a mixture of butter and flour, which is called a roux (pronounced, "roo").

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 big pinches ground nutmeg
  • 2 big pinches freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups shredded white or yellow cheddar cheese
      (8 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni

Directions:

Melt the butter
Before you start, be sure an adult is nearby to help.

Put the butter in a saucepan. Place the saucepan over low heat and warm until the butter is melted.

Add the flour
Add the flour to the melted butter. Using a whisk, stir the flour and butter together until the mixture is smooth and bubbling but not browned, about 1 minute.

Add the milk and cook
Increase the heat under the saucepan to medium. While stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, slowly pour the milk into the saucepan. Continue to stir and cook until the mixture is smooth, thickened and gently bubbling, 6 to 8 minutes. It should be about as thick as melted ice cream.

Add the cheese
Wearing oven mitts, remove the saucepan from the heat.

Add 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, the nutmeg and pepper. Stir several times, then add the cheddar and Parmesan cheeses. Stir until the cheeses have melted and the sauce is smooth. Cover the saucepan with the lid to keep the sauce warm and set it aside.

Boil water
Fill a large saucepan three-fourths full with water. Place over high heat and bring to a rolling boil. When the water is boiling, add the remaining 2 teaspoons salt.

Cook the macaroni
Pour the macaroni into the boiling water. Wait a minute, then stir and push the macaroni down into the water with a wooden fork.

Boil the macaroni, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until tender but not mushy, 7 to 8 minutes, or according to the instructions on the package.

Drain the macaroni
Set a colander in the sink. Ask an adult to help you pour the macaroni into the colander. Let the macaroni drain, shaking the colander a few times to shake off the extra water.

Coat with the sauce
Add the drained macaroni to the saucepan with the cheese sauce. Using the wooden fork, stir the macaroni until it is well coated with the cheese sauce.

Spoon the macaroni and cheese into bowls and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Fun Food, by Stephanie Rosenbaum (Simon & Schuster, 2006).