Bowls and Bowls of Comfort
Although macaroni and cheese has grown to fame as an American classic dish, its origin is often debated. Some believe the dish was created by former president Thomas Jefferson who served the dish in the White House in 1802. Others like food historian Karen Hess claims Jefferson introduced the dish from a pasta mold he brought back from Paris. The presidential legacy continued with First Lady Mrs. Harry Truman who often prepared the dish her way. Ronald Reagan was also know to frequently request the dish for his birthday dinner.
Jefferson’s original recipe of combining cooked pasta and cheese has evolved into an artwork of finding the perfect blend of cheese, vegetables or meats to make the ultimate mac and cheese dish–chili & mac is quite satisfying!
Mac and cheese has become one of America’s favorite comfort foods and is still used frequently as a side dish for holiday meals, particularly in the south. Kraft Foods, Inc. sells over one million boxes of macaroni and cheese per day, but in my book, that’s not macaroni and cheese. Over the last week I’ve been asked a few times for a recipe. This is not a simple request as there are as many variations on the theme as there are cheeses. This recipe is a great place to start instead of paprika or dry mustard powder it gets it’s lift from Tabasco. Personally the amount in this recipe is not nearly enough, so feel free to to add a dash more.
Eula Mae’s Cajun Kitchen by Eula Mae Dore & Marcelle R. Beinvenu
2 quarts water
1 tblspn olive oil
1 tblspn salt
1/2 pound elbow macaroni
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onions
3 tblspns all-purpose flour
1/4 tspn Tabasco brand pepper sauce
1 1/2 cups half and half
2 cups grated American or Cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a large baking dish.
Combine the water, olive oil and salt in a large sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the macaroni, reduce the heat to medium, cover, and cook until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Set aside. Dry the saucepan.
In the same saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring until just soft, about 3 minutes. Add the flour and Tabasco sauce and whisk to blend. Slowly add the half-and-half, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens. Add the cheese and stir until completely melted and the mixture is thick and smooth.
Add the macaroni and toss to coat evenly. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Cover lightly with aluminum foil and bake until bubbly, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve warm.