I make pretty damn good macaroni & cheese, whether it's my baked version or my bacon/ranch version. But sometimes I want a saucier mac & cheese, and I absolutely refuse to reach for the blue box.
This recipe hails from just after the Civil War, from Jennie June's American Cookery Book, published in 1870. You don't need the oven (just the stovetop), and the recipe is so incredibly simple. Simply boil your noodles, make a creamy sauce (from REAL cheese, of course!), and that's it.
The original recipe:
MACARONI.Put four or five ounces of macaroni in water, and boil for twenty minutes, until tender. Mix into half a pint of milk a little flour, and a small piece of butter, half a tea-cup of cream, half a tea-spoonful of mustard, salt, pepper, and cayenne, and four ounces of good fat cheese grated very fine; stir all together and boil for ten minutes. Pour this over the macaroni, after draining it from the water boil five or six minutes and serve.
Luckily, Kitchen Historic has 'modernized' the recipe, making it much easier; she has also doubled the recipe. Honestly, with a recipe THIS good and THIS easy, who needs the blue box anyway?
1870 Macaroni & Cheese
adapted from Kitchen Historic
10 oz elbow macaroni
2 cups whole or 2% milk
4 Tbsp all-purpose flour
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
Cayenne to taste
8oz sharp cheddar, grated
Boil the macaroni according to package directions. Drain and return to the pot.
Meanwhile, combine the milk, flour and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the butter has melted and everything is combined.
Whisk in the cream, mustard, salt, pepper and cayenne. Add the cheese, then simmer for 5 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.
Add the cheese sauce to the drained macaroni. Stir to combine and cook over low heat until warmed through.