It was a miserable, blustery fall day. The wind was howling & leaves were flying all over our yard. It was pouring rain & gloomy… the kind of day that is good for nothing but staying inside curled up on the couch with your favourite someone or a good book. I was getting ready to make dinner & given the kind of day it was, figured I had better make some comfort food. I am not going to lie, I also needed to use up some milk, but mostly my decision to make Double Cheese Macaroni was because of the weather.
Everyone has their comfort foods & mine happens to be pasta of any kind. I don’t know, there is just something so warm & of course, comforting, about pasta. I think I like it because I can throw in whatever I feel like eating given the type of day I’m having & it will always turn out good. I’m not sure I’ve ever made a bad pasta dish, which perhaps is remarkable given that I rarely follow recipes… pasta just seems to be one of those fool proof things.
Which brings me back to Double Cheese Macaroni. Making this dish is one of the rare times that I do actually follow a recipe for pasta. My family has used this recipe for years & it is probably one of the first things my brothers & I learned how to make when we were younger. For a few years, while growing up, each of us had to cook one night a week… which worked out pretty good since there were five of us & five nights in a week. Although I freely admit I am bad at math, I do know there are seven days in a week… just wait, I’m getting there… Each of my parents took a night, us three kids each had a night & we were off the hook on weekends. There was only rule – we were not allowed to make Kraft Dinner. While we may have grumbled about it at the time, my brothers more so than me, this is one of the greatest things my parents could have done for us. As a result of being required to cook one night a week the three of us are now really good cooks as far as I am concerned. In each of our respective families, it is the boys & I who do the majority of the cooking. Double Cheese Macaroni was one of those recipes we learned to cook on as it was easy to make & the end result was always oh so yummy! The recipe originally came from one of those recipe pamphlets put out by manufactures to give you ideas on how to use their products. I think this one was for Lancia pasta but I’m really not sure – I have a photo copy only of this recipe, not the entire pamphlet.
Now that I am an adult I sometimes change things up a little when making this recipe. I hardly ever actually use “macaroni” probably because I often have trouble even finding it in the grocery store. Any type of pasta will do… this last time I used penne & it is turned out as great as if I had used macaroni. Sometimes I vary the cheese depending on what’s in my fridge… cheddar, marble… I don’t think I’ve ever used mozzarella but now that I am thinking of it, it would probably be pretty good too. When I make this dish for my husband, who is a meat guy, I usually add cubed ham, so that we’ve got everything in one dish. I’ve also, on occasion, added a layer of sliced tomato in the middle which is quite good & adds some bright colour. The options are pretty much limitless with this recipe… & leftovers make great lunches!
Double Cheese Macaroni
2 cups macaroni (or any pasta)
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt, nutmeg & pepper to taste
2 cups milk
2 cups grated old cheddar cheese
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Prepare macaroni as package directs. Drain. In large saucepan melt butter. Add flour & seasonings; blend well over low heat. Add milk & cook, stirring constantly until thickened. Add cheddar cheese; stir until smooth. Remove from heat. Add macaroni to sauce, mix well. Pour into well greased 1 1/2 quart (2L) baking dish. Top with mixture of bread crumbs, butter & Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 F 25-30 minutes. Makes 6 servings.