For years .
I tried to top the mac and cheese that my dad makes .
I tried making the traditional mona sauce with a butter and flour rou mixed with milk and then grier and all kinds of fancy cheese .
But it never came out as good as dad's , which uses no room at all and is instead built upon processed American cheese .
Start by putting enough water on the boil for a pound of pasta and then put another big pan on medium heat .
That's one quart of whole milk .
Then comes the cheese , a whole 16 ounce package of craft deli deluxe American cheese .
This is different from craft singles .
It contains enough real cheddar or Colby cheese for the US government to consider it cheese .
Other types have to be labeled as cheese product .
You start tearing it into pieces so that it melts relatively quickly and evenly .
I think it's probably the emulsifiers in this processed cheese that make the recipe work without the use of roux as a thickener or binder .
And the whole thing comes out much smoother as a result , we take a little black pepper and no salt .
There's plenty of salt in that cheese .
But you could totally add some more herbs and spices at this stage if you want and it will slowly melt over a period of about 5 to 10 minutes .
Oh , and we forgot the butter anywhere between a half and a whole stick of butter goes in and just melts with the cheese .
Keep stirring it .
Meanwhile , get yourself a pound of large pasta shells or honestly , whatever shake you want , salt your boiling water and dump in the pasta .
Par boil it for five minutes no more or they'll be mushy after they bake .
You can see that sauce is nice and smooth .
Now , get yourself a baking dish that's at least 2.5 quarts and lobe it up , drain your pasta .
Then it's time to assemble pasta goes into the dish , pour in the sauce , stir around a little bit .
It should look too soupy at this stage .
If it doesn't , it's gonna be dry and gloppy after it bakes , covering it up for the first part of baking will help the whole thing .
Cook a little bit more evenly .
If you're into that , I actually don't cover it because I like the top super dry and crispy .
But you do .
You in the oven , it goes at 3 50 °F for 45 minutes covered .
Now , if you're thinking this is a recipe an eight year old could do .
You're right .
Grandma Ragusa started my dad making this by himself when he was eight while everybody was at work on Fridays because like all good cat licks , they wouldn't eat meat that night .
After 45 minutes , pull it out and take the cover off , then give it another half hour or so until the top layer of cheese is brown .
If it's not browning enough to your liking , you could always flip on the broiler at the very end and you could eat some brown bits off the top like a dirty thief right now .
But you got to let the whole thing rest for like half an hour before you spoon it out .
Otherwise the sauce will just run out all over the plate .
I like to eat it with some salad often on the same forkful , acidic crunch is a great contrast with soft richness .
It might not look fancy , but for an unbiased opinion on the taste , here's Lauren .
I love macaroni and cheese and I've always tried to make macaroni and cheese at home and it's always been trash and it's delicious .
The flavor is stronger and the texture far smoother than mac and cheese made with quote unquote real cheese .
Give it a chance .
This may be that childhood food memory you've been chasing and never been able to get back .