I really don’t know how Macaroni and Cheese became a staple dish in Caribbean cuisine. If you do, please let me know. In the Bahamas, Trinidad and Barbados they call it Macaroni Pie, but in Jamaica we call it Macaroni and Cheese. Macaroni pie tends to be very firm and can be cut into squares. Some places they even use sweetened condensed milk or evaporated milk so it actually tastes sweet. My recipe is easy, creamy and cheesy and a favourite at our family gatherings. It’s also the recipe that most reminds me of my grandmother’s Macaroni and Cheese. She was the one who would delight us with this dish because mother preferred to spend as little time in the kitchen as possible. It was always a little firm but creamy.
This is a three cheese macaroni and cheese, which means it’s extra cheesy. It’s also really easy to make because all you do is combine all the ingredients in one bowl, stir in the pasta and pop in the oven until golden brown. My new trick for making it extra special and flavourful is to use bread crumbs with Italian Seasonings for the topping. But even if you use plain bread crumbs you’ll find this foolproof recipe delicious!
12 oz (375g) Elbow macaroni
2 Tbsp (30 mL) Butter
3 Tbsp (45 mL) All-purpose flour
2 1/2 (625 mL)cups Milk
2 tsp (10 mL) Mustard
1/4 tsp (1 mL) Ground nutmeg
2 1/2 tsp (15 mL) Salt
1/2 tsp (2 mL) Black pepper
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) Extra-old cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup (125 mL) Mozzarella cheese, grated
1/2 cup (125 mL) Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup (60 mL) Plain bread crumbs (or with Italian Seasonings)
2 Tbsp (30 mL) Melted Butter
1. Cook elbow pasta in pot of boiling water with 1 tsp salt for about 5 to 7 minutes or until tender but firm (do not overcook; it will cook more in the oven).
2. Drain pasta, rinse with cold water and set aside
3.Heat butter in large saucepan over medium heat until melted
4. Add flour and stir until combined
5. Gradually whisk in milk stirring rapidly to avoid lumps; stir until sauce bubbles and begins to thicken.
6. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in mustard, nutmeg and black pepper and 1 1/2 tsp salt
7. Turn off heat and stir in cheddar cheese, mozzarella and 1/4 cup Parmesan until melted and combined.
8. Fold pasta into sauce and pour into greased baking dish
1. In a small bowl mix melted butter with bread crumbs; set aside until cool
2. Mix remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan with bread crumbs and sprinkle on the top of macaroni and cheese
3. Bake macaroni and cheese in preheated oven at 350F (180C) for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Serves 6 to 8
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