Family recipes are the best recipes, and they’re passed down from generation to generation for one reason: they’re freakin’ amazing. I’ve said this before but my Grandma Hayes is one of the best cooks I know – the woman can seriously make anything, and whatever that “thing” is, it’s always flawless. I consider myself lucky to have inherited those genes. I rarely alter her recipes, but today I did, and I think Grandma would approve. This Creamy Macaroni and Cheese is out of this world and if you’ve never had the opportunity to sit around the huge farmhouse-style table Erma Hayes has in her kitchen, you’ll feel like you’re right there.
Would you believe me if I told you I have only had boxed macaroni and cheese a handful of times? Even as a young child, I would wrinkle my nose at the bright orange color and plastic like taste. In fact, even when I’d go to a friends house, I would refuse to eat that orange-glowing pot of pasta. I do the same with store-bought bread and “fake” maple syrup. I remember having lunch at a friends house and her mother served us sandwiches on Wonder Bread. For some reason I just could not eat this, and ended up feeding it to the dog under the table!
Once you’ve had the real “stuff” it’s just impossible to go back to the boxed variety. This macaroni and cheese has perfect proportions and tons of flavor. It is, as far as I’m concerned, the perfect recipe for soothing, uncomplicated macaroni and cheese.
1 pound elbow macaroni
1 quart milk
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
12 ounces Gouda cheese, grated
8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar, grated
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon dried mustard