|Aunt Judy’s Mac and Cheese|
Mr. B swept into the kitchen this morning, and as he was tying the sash of his robe, he sang out, “Happy Mardi Gras!” and then gave me a big kiss. It may just be another Tuesday in February for all of our neighbors, but in our world it’s still a day of celebration.
Over coffee, we reminisced about all the good times back in New Orleans. Mardi Gras day was always my favorite day of the carnival season. I’d walk up and down St. Charles, past Lee Circle, through the CBD, across Canal and into the French Quarter where I’d catch the costume contest and people watch, then head back Uptown to catch the truck parade–by far, my favorite because I would catch sack loads of beads and party favors.
Surely, Mr. B and I didn’t just reminisce about parades and costumes. We talked food: fried chicken and King Cake, jambalaya, sloppy roast beef po’ boys and of course, Aunt Judy’s baked macaroni and cheese. Then, just like every year, Mr. B put in his special request for a Fat Tuesday feast. This year, he asked me to make him fried pork chops and I didn’t even have to ask him what he wanted with them, because I already knew. I was going to make a pan of Aunt Judy’s baked mac and cheese, but like always, I’d have to make a few changes along the way.
This is old school baked mac and cheese. While mac and cheese has enjoyed many an upscale upgrade over the years, this is a simple dish, very southern and the sort you’d find at just about every family gathering.
Aunt Judy doesn’t add the dry mustard, the hot sauce or the buttered bread crumbs. Those are my additions, and damn good ones, too. Enjoy.
Baked Mac and Cheese
1 16 oz package of small elbow macaroni
6 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 T. Crystal™ hot sauce
2 T. cracked black pepper
1 T. salt
1 stick of butter, cut into pieces
2 cups of grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups of grated medium cheddar cheese
Additional grated cheese for topping
Buttered, toasted Panko™ bread crumbs
1. Preheat oven to 350º.
2. Boil macaroni until tender and then drain in a colander.
3. Butter a large casserole dish, or glass baking pan.
4. Add the macaroni.
5. Mix the eggs with the dry mustard, hot sauce, salt and black pepper and add to the macaroni. Stir to combine.
6. Add the butter pieces and mix well.
7. Add the cheeses and mix well.
9. Pour enough milk over the macaroni so that it just covers it.
8. Top with additional grated cheese.
9. Bake at 350º until bubbly and beginning to brown.
10. Top with the buttered bread crumbs and continue baking until cooked through.
11. Allow to sit for a few minutes before serving.