Another modified recipe from Martha Stewart - Macaroni and Cheese.
All of the ingredients set out mise en place.
After the pasta was boiled and drained, I started working on the cheese sauce. First we cooked some onions in butter. FI was a little unsure about including onions in a mac and cheese, but they added so much flavor to the dish, that he became a big fan.
Next we added the milk and flour and the spices (salt, pepper, cayenne) to make the bechamel sauce. I also threw in a pinch of nutmeg because I've always read in other recipes to add some to cheese sauces.
Then I stirred in the shredded cheddar cheese. Buying packages of shredded cheese made the recipe a lot easier. After the cheese was melted, we poured in the pasta. Notice we didn't use elbow macaroni, but the penne with the tubes and ridges collected the mac and cheese just fine. Martha's recipe also called for ham to be chopped up and stirred in, but we figured this was going to be rich enough and didn't need extra salt or calories.
Then we poured everything into a baking dish and sprinkled bread crumbs over the top. Again, buying pre-made bread crumbs made this a lot easier. We also didn't bother sprinkling more cheese on top as we already had a lot of cheese in the sauce.
The finished product! It was delicious! Since we had cut out the ham and didn't put so much cheese, it wasn't super salty at all. But the onions, cayenne, and nutmeg all added some nice flavor nuances to the dish.
We ate our mac and cheese with stir-fried broccoli we made as well. There was plenty left and I got to eat it for the next two days' lunches. I also finished off a serving after coming home late from a night out with work friends. Yummy greasy cheesy food is the best after a night of drinking!