By - Carla - on August 29, 2005
Photo by May I Have That Recipe
Photo by May I Have That Recipe
"To me Fannie Farmer's recipe is the only "real" Macaroni & Cheese. It's from my 1946 edition of "Fannie Farmer's Boston Cooking School Cookbook". With time on it's side - this recipe is hands down the best for traditional, homemade baked macaroni & cheese - comfort food. Please Note: If you use CHEAP CHEESE you will end up with a BLAND and FLAVORLESS DISH!"
Serving Size: 1 (270 g)
Servings Per Recipe: 4
"jensafrk commented that this recipe ''tastes like raw flour.'' The problem may be in making the roux, which is the carefully cooked, equal quantities of flour and butter. You must begin with low heat and the mixture must be stirred constantly to avoid scorching the flour. Start by melting the butter over low heat. When the foaming begins to subside, add the flour (do not include the salt and pepper yet) and stir constantly, watching the color of the mixture. It should become a light, nutty brown color. This may take five minutes or so. Do not go by the clock, but rather by the color. If the process is stopped too soon, while still white, it will taste like raw flour. If it gets too brown, the flour has scorched and it will taste burnt. As soon as the color is right, slowly add the room-temperature milk/cream in increments, continuing to stir constantly. When all of the milk has been added, turn the heat up to medium high and continue stirring until it begins to bubble, then reduce heat to a simmer and and continue stirring until it thickens. You now have the basic white sauce, béchamel, upon which many other cream sauces are built. In this recipe, that is a cheese sauce. Add the salt and pepper at this point and continue the recipe."
"Good classic recipe for mac 'n cheese. Too bad DIVA 43 chooses to negatively comment about a recipe that wasn't even attempted. personally, I'm not interested in an opinion that does nothing but pontificate,,,bottom linr is DIVA43, get a life or keep your opinions to yourself. This is a community of foodies - something you are obviously not. No one is interested in you telling us how "unhealthy" a recipe is."
"I agree with Minnie Chef, BUT, when something has been around 63 years without changes PLEASE go by the old rule. "IF IT AIN'T BROKE DON'T FIX IT". Stop forever experimenting with everything. Enjoy the CLASSICS as they were meant to be. AS IS. There may be a few of you that can really be all that good with what some combinations are going to end up as. But, very few. I am not talking to those of you that have medical or dietary demands on your intake. I am talking to those of you that don't even give the original recipe a chance. NUFF said. Enjoy it as written then if you feel it needs a change go for it. BON APETITE, Cap'n Jack."
"I have made this before. It was in an old fanny farmer cookbook I had but lost in one of our moves several years ago. It is a very creamy recipe and one of the best I have ever made. And I have made alot. No changes need to be made to this recipe. Some of the old ones are the best. This is one of them."
"Great recipe! But I respectfully disagree completely with the statement that "if you use cheap cheese, you will end up with a bland and flavorless dish". This is rediculous. I would say that if you use mild or medium cheddar, these are indeed the results you will get. But the price of the cheese will make no difference whatsoever, just as long as you go sharp sharp on your type of cheese. Go ahead and save your money! This dish rocks!"
"This is great. I omit the bread crumbs because I don't really care for them. I mix up the cheeses a little: I use one cup of grated sharp cheddar and ~1 cup of Velveeta (don't shoot! - it's really the only way I've found to get that super-creamy mac & cheese that everyone loves so much). I also add a ton of black pepper to the roux with the salt. I reserve a little of the grated cheddar to sprinkle on top in place of the bread crumbs. Fantastico!"
"I make this recipe frequently, using all milk instead of cream. I also add a small amount (maybe a tablespoon) of minced onion to the sauce. It is wonderful! Even onion haters love it!!!"
"This is a classic and by far one of the best Mac and Cheese receipes ever created . For a little extra flavour and a little heat I too add up to a teaspoon of dry mustard, several shakes of Tobasco. A couple of Roma tomatoes that have been seeded and chopped add colour and for additional taste I also cube two healthy slices or more of smoked ham and add it to the casserole. This has been fantastic comfort food for years and will continue to be in my books."
"Ok, I am going to fess up right here and now to "jumping to conclusions." I have long been in search of the "best" macaroni and cheese recipe. To do that, I went straight to the top of 'Zaar, and started making the #1 rated recipe. I loved it, and it got rave reviews, but my best friend here didn't deem it "perfect", although she wasn't clear on exactly what was missing. So I began to peruse the "runner ups" and found this recipe. The first time I made it, I could see that it was going to be better than #1. It is creamy, rich, and delicious. I have varied the recipe every time with the following modifications and NOT ONE of them made it any less delicious - 1. Lactose (almost) free using Cabot cheddar cheeses (no lactose) and Lactaid whole milk. 2. Low(er) fat - using regular 2% milk, one 8oz Velveeta (less fat than Cheddar) and 1 8oz 50% less fat Cabot. I also need to point out to any reviewers who find this "bland", the seasonings are on you. You need to taste it when you are making the white sauce to be sure that is well seasoned, and taste it again after the cheese is added. I add Cayenne pepper to every macaroni and cheese I make, and I am sure at the end I added more salt and pepper. Only way to make a dish perfect is to taste it all the way through. Kudos, Carla, this recipe has finally been deemed "perfect.""
"This recipe is almost identical to the one my mother always made. She was a farmer's wife. Baking mac and cheese does give it a different texture and flavor than what you find in the blue box or most cafeterias. My mom always used the oldest cheddar cheese she could get. You know, the stuff that makes the kitchen stink like sports socks and makes your face tingle if you eat it uncooked. She would just cut the mold (penicillin) off and crumble it. As well, she was never one to waste anything so she would save the little bits of other cheese and use them as well. Sometimes she added just a little blue cheese. It was always similar in taste, but never exactly the same due to the combination of leftover cheese. Delicious!"
"I have an 1896 fannie farmers boston cooking school cookbook which I inherited from my great gramma. She is the first one who first made this dish for me when I was a child. My gramma and mom ALWAYS made mac and cheese this way. Lazy me slipped into making the "blue box" when my children were young because it was quick and easy, and have to admit I still use occasionally as a quick side, although I always found it to be too "velveety" tasting. I bought velveeta once and thought it was gross, reminds me of that disgusting yellow american cheese. (my opinion only, but I really don't like the stuff) Anyhow, getting off track here, I saw this recipe on here, and had to make it again, the recipe is the same in the in the 1896 version of cookbook by the way, now my husband in general HATES macaroni and cheese, reminds him of school cafeteria food. I made this last night, following recipe exactly, and he ate half of a 9 by 13 baking dish of it with sliced fresh tomatoes from the garden, couldn't believe it was mac and cheese and tasted this, and bought memories of gram and great gramma back to me. Thank you for posting. The only other comment is if you want 'blue box or velveeta" stay with it, they don't do it for me, this is a different grown up flavor which is wonderful. Don't mess with the original. This is fantastic, despite the time involved, always worth it."
"Excellent macaroni! It's important to cook the flour and butter mixture for a few minutes before adding the milk and cream, to get rid of the "flour" taste. It's standard when making a roux or bechamel. I'm guessing some people who complained of bland flavor didn't cook it properly."
"Just wanted to add a review so I can remember what size of dish to use since the recipe doesn't specify. (8x8 or 9x9)"
"LOVE this recipe! Please follow the chef's advice and DON'T use cheap cheese! Or Velveeta. Shudder. Buy a block of good-quality cheddar and shred it. After the first time, we made a couple of changes, but it was delicious as written as well. I use cracker crumbs instead of buttered bread crumbs, whole milk instead of milk/cream, and sprinkle a little paprika on top. My husband also insists that we make it "saucier" so I make 1.5 times the sauce. Delicious!"
"If my husband could have this every night, I would have no need for any other recipe. I'm sorry that I haven't rated this until now. We both loved this. I only made a few changes to suit our preferences. I added about a 1/2tsp of garlic, we used 2% milk, and low fat cream. I topped it with panko crumbs and after baking I put it under the broiler for about 4 minutes to give it an added crunch. Thank you Carla."
"Okay, so, this macaroni is awesome. It was one of the best macaroni dishes I have ever had. Don't skip the breadcrumbs or the grated cheese on top -- they make the dish. I toasted some bread, buttered it on both sides, peeled it in a few pieces, and put it in the food processor. SO EASY. Be generous with the breadcrumbs, even if it seems like a lot.
My issue with this recipe is that the directions are awful. No heat settings, no timings, no color indicators, nothing. It is ambiguous when it says to cook for ten minutes -- do you do that and add the cheese at the same time or add the cheese after cooking for ten minutes? There's no way you can cook for ten minutes without adding cheese without the flour mixture coagulating.
Use a cheese you like. It doesn't have to be expensive, just make sure you taste it beforehand and you like it because your dish will taste like it. I bought $8 cheese that didn't taste that great, and ultimately the $3 cheese I liked worked much better in the dish. Don't be afraid to mix different types of cheeses. I used a little mozzarella, a little cheddar, and a lot of colby-jack and it was AWESOME."
"Used Adam's Reserve Sharp Cheddar and since I didn't have cream I used 1/2 c half and half, 1/2 cup sour cream. I decided at the last minute NOT to bake this, since it was so creamy and the cooking of the sauce on the stove took away the raw flour taste. So, I had this on the table in the time it took to boil the macaroni, drain it and mix it into the sauce I made while the mac cooked-20 minutes max! Served with stewed tomatoes. Fabulous recipe, thank you for sharing! It is my new fave!"
"BEST mac 'n cheese EVERRRR!!!"
"YUMMMY!!! I have searched for years for a great mac and cheese recipe. This one is the best by far the kids love it and it is always requested when going to friends. I double it and it fits nicely into a 9x13. I did switch regular bread crumbs for panko crumbs and mix some extra grated cheese. And do be sure to follow step 7 and simmer and stir for 10 mins....to little and it doesnt turn out right."
"This is really the only recipe you need for mac & cheese. It is perfect EXACTLY the way it is, but since we are cheese-a-holics in our house, I played with different combinations of cheese to get the strong flavor I was searching for. My favorite pre-made mac & cheese is Stouffers, so I am constantly trying to match that taste. After many experiements, I found a combination that is actually BETTER than Stouffers. I use 2 cups of sharp cheddar (the sharper the better), about 1 1/2 cups of finely shredded parmesean, and about 1/2 cup of shredded swiss (just enough so as to not overpower it). The combination is SO amazing. The key is to add the cheeses slowly into the white sauce while it is just warm...not boiling. Sometimes we don't even bother to bake this because it's too good to wait for. On the days I feel like baking it (I agree with those who say it's a completely different dish when baked...just depends on what you're in the mood for) I have come to love using Italian seasoned Panko bread crumbs for the topping. My kids love the crunch. I read that one reviewer wasn't sure how to use the bread crumbs...just melt the butter in the micro for a bit, then add it to the crumbs and stir them up, then sprinkle them on the top. The great thing about this recipe is that you can use is as a base for whatever your flavor mood. Add mexi-cheese and green chiles for a yummy mexi-mac, add diced ham and broccoli, chicken and sun-dried tomatoes, or whatever you are craving. My favorite, though, is to just make it plain with my three cheeses. I, too, have converted from the 'blue box' to this recipe. I actually find it just as easy as making the blue box...with a FAR superior result. A true time-tested classic. As my daughter prepares to leave the nest (she is a Senior in high school) I have been teaching her 'survival' recipes, and this is definitely one of them. Every self-respecting cook should have this in their repertoire. I didn't for the longest time b/c I was intimidated by the whole roux thing. But I found that practice makes perfect, and once I conquered making roux, it opened up all SORTS of new recipes for me. So if you haven't tried it, DO! And if you burn it (goodness knows I did plenty of times) then START OVER! It's just flour and butter. It's really easier than you'd think, and SO worth it when you taste the results. Thanks so much for sharing this PERFECT recipe!"