Microwave Mac n Cheese

Microwave Mac n Cheese
Way back in the stone age when microwaves were the latest technology, My Mom got a  cookbook filled with recipes intended to help microwave owners use their appliance for something more than making popcorn, boiling water, or reheating leftovers. Yes, you really can cook in the microwave. Of the many recipes she tried, Mom used this one the most. The other night I decided to pull the now falling-apart cookbook out and give Microwave Mac n Cheese a try. I cook the pasta on the stove in traditional fashion, but the cheese sauce and casserole are done in the microwave. Since today's microwaves are more powerful than their predecessors, some adjustments have been made. Here's what I did:

Pasta: The recipe calls for 1-7oz pkg of macaroni but I prefer a heartier pasta for this sauce. I cooked 4 cups of dried penne pasta in boiling, salted water for 10 minutes. You aren't cooking the pasta all the way, just until it is a little more dente than al dente. Drain and transfer to a microwave-safe casserole dish with a lid.

Cheese Sauce: Place 1/4 c. butter in a 1-2 qt. microwave safe bowl (I use a 2 qt pyrex measuring bowl for this -- the handle is handy) and cook on high for until melted, 1/2 - 1 minute. Add 6 T. flour and 1 tsp. salt and whisk until smooth, then add 2 c. milk (can be canned milk or skim or whatever you want. I used skim) and whisk until smooth. Return to microwave and cook on high for 4-6 minutes, whisking well every minute until the sauce is thick and bubbly. Remove from oven and whisk in 2 c. grated sharp cheddar cheese until melted and combined.

Combine and Bake: Add cheese sauce to pasta and mix well. Top with additional grated cheese, cover, and cook on medium-high power (if you have a powerful microwave like mine -- 1200 watts, can use high for a lower wattage oven) for 7-10 minutes (I used power level 6 and cooked for 8 minutes).

You can garnish with buttered bread crumbs, paprika, or crumbled crisp bacon before serving if you wish, but I like it with straight-up cheese. You can also add cubed ham before cooking the casserole if you want to add meat. At our house we like to serve with grilled smoked sausages -- it's a German thing, I'm sure.

Makes 6 generous-sized servings, or more if you plan to serve as a side dish. If you are feeding an army you could double the recipe, making the cheese sauce in the microwave and baking the combined casserole in a regular oven. Last I checked, they don't make army-sized microwaves. You could cook the sauce on the stove, too, but microcooking means you don't have to stir constantly and you don't have to worry about scorching. Nice!

This Mac n Cheese is super creamy and to-die-for good. It's the ultimate comfort food. YUM!


Popular posts from this blog

Lemon Sour Cream Pound Cake

Better Eggnog Pound Cake