Preparation time: 45 mins
Cooking time: 45 mins
Dietary guidance: v
3 cups macaroni
1 can diced tomatoes (or whole, Mom used whole)
2 Tablespoons butter/margarine
2 Tablespoons flour
2 Cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
a whole mess of cheese. 1 small block, or 1/2 a large block of cheddar. Use at least medium, but old is better.
Slice of bread or two
a bit of reserved shredded cheese
a knob of butter/margarine (1 Tablespoon)
Get a large pot of water boiling. Salt generously, and pour in 3 cups of macaroni. Cook al dente.
In a large saucepan, melt butter/margarine over medium heat. Add flour and stir until flour cooks a bit, it will bubble and slightly brown. This takes maybe 2-3 mins. Congratulations! You just made a roux!
Now add 2 cups of milk to your roux and stir. Stir frequently to constantly until thickened. Be careful because the milk can scorch easily on the bottom so when you are stirring make sure you are stirring the whole bottom surface of the pot. Add salt, pepper, and mustard powder. Feel free to add other spices that you like: cumin, curry, celery seed, garlic powder, whatever floats your boat, I'm just setting down the basic here. Which is totally awesome. Anyway, back to that cheese sauce. . .
Remove from heat. Grate your cheese if you didn't have a chance to yet, and add it to the white sauce. Don't forget to reserve a little bit for the topping! Again, feel free to use other cheese besides cheddar, make a three cheese sauce or whatever. I like to add 1/2 cup parmesan. Romano is good, jack is good, swiss is good, anything you like is good!
Hopefully you've been looking after those macaronis, and they are safely drained and cooked al dente. Please don't overcook your pasta, for the sake of all that is good in this world, don't overcook your pasta! I'm really getting off-track with this method section. Anyway. . .
Get out a big casserole dish, the oblong one, not the little round one. Put in half the macaroni. Spoon half of that wondrous cheese sauce over it. Crack open your can of tomatoes and spoon some tomatoes over the cheese sauce. Now add the rest of the macaroni, some more tomatoes, and the rest of the cheese sauce (lick that spoon! Yum! That's it, dive right in, get all that cheesy goodness. I like it over toast).
Toast the slices of bread. Melt the margarine in your microwave. Break up the toast into small chunks and toss with the melted butter. Scatter over the top of the casserole, then scatter the reserved cheese over that.
Bake at 325 F for 45 mins or so.
To complete this meal you should really serve it with a salad or veggie platter. But, most of the time I just eat the macaroni and cheese. Mmmmm.