Saturday, January 07, 2006

God-given Macaroni and Cheese

Several of the most-emailed articles on the New York Times' web site this week have been about macaroni and cheese. There's an article about the dish itself, a review of boxed macaroni and cheese products, and two recipes, one for creamy and one for crusty.

But they're wrong, all wrong. There's only one God-given macaroni-and-cheese recipe. To paraphrase Real Genius, it went from God, to Irma Rombauer, to my mom, and now to you. Unlike the recipes on the Times' cite, it's a custard, with eggs in addition to the milk. Here it is, scaled up a bit, the Baked Macaroni and Cheese recipe from the 1975 edition of Joy of Cooking:

Boil in salted water:
   1 1/2 c macaroni
Drain it. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place layers of macaroni in a buttered 9" square baking dish, sprinkling the layers with:
   1 1/2 c shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Beat until blended:
   2 eggs
   1 c milk
   1/2 t salt
   scant 1/4 t paprika
   a few grains cayenne
   2 T chopped parsley (optional)
Pour this mixture over the macaroni, sprinkle the top with:
   bread crumbs
   grated parmesan cheese
Bake about 40 minutes. Serves 4.



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