My little one(Drew-24) is finally leaving the nesting area of the Eastern Shore for Colorado’s glorious scenery and healthy climate. I knew the time would come, but to his benefit, he doesn’t mind showing his skills in the kitchen. So any need for some home cooking in the days and months (sniff) ahead should be not to much of a challenge. It was only a short time ago when I sent him to away to college with a cookbook full of our family’s favorites. While being responsible for cooking for himself, he developed the necessary survival skills to avoid starvation.
Ashlyn, his favorite girl, is already settling into their new home. A few days prior to Drew heading out to Colorado for his third interview, she asked me to send her this recipe because she wanted to surprise him with one of his favorites the night of his arrival. It’s actually one of hers also of which I am secretly aware, but cannot divulge that because of her career….whoops! No matter how healthy-minded we strive to be, a little bit of comfort does the heart good, figuratively.
Drew and Ashlyn are looking forward to continuing their healthy lifestyle with their three awesome pups(Bella, Karma and Meeka) as they adapt to their new home and make new friends. Of course I will miss him and Karma. However, I feel secure that he is in the very caring arms of Ashlyn. I know for these two ambitious young minds this experience is only the beginning of many great things in their future. I’m also sure this won’t be the last recipe I post here for their future benefit. Good luck! Now, for the directions.
Warm the milk in the microwave for about 3 minutes.Whisk flour and Old Bay together. Then, add it to the melted butter in your Dutch Oven or large saucepan and continue to whisk for one minute after it starts to sizzle.
Add the warm milk and continue to whisk until thick and bubbly. It should coat the back of a wooden spoon. You can also see that the sauce clings to the sides of the pan. Follow up with adding the cheese and whisking until melted.
Stir in the macaroni then pour it into non-stick cooking sprayed pan. For the topping, melt 4 T. of butter with 1/2 t. of Old Bay seasoning. Combine with 1-1/2 cups of Panko breadcrumbs. Spoon on top of the macaroni and cheese. Place in a 350 degree preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes or until crumbs are golden brown.
Oh, yum! I wish you could smell this fabulous aroma of comfort! Wait. You can! Just make it!
- 1 pound medium shell(or bowtie) macaroni, cooked al dente according to package directions(6-8 minutes)
- 6 T. all-purpose flour
- 6 T. butter
- ½-1 t. Old Bay seasoning
- 4 c. milk
- 1 pound shredded sharp white cheddar cheese,(I used Cabot- Vermont Sharp Cheddar)
- 1½ c. plain panko bread crumbs
- 4 T. butter, melted
- ½ t. Old Bay seasoning, plus more to sprinkle on individual servings
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees: place rack in center of oven.
- Shred the sharp white cheddar cheese and place aside.
- In the Dutch Oven, whisk in the flour and Old Bay as the butter melts over medium heat until the roux boils.
- Reduce heat to simmer for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Gradually stir in the milk with a wire whisk. Stir until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Mix in the shredded cheese until melted over low heat.
- Remove from heat and add the cooked pasta shells, stirring lightly until coated evenly.
- Combine the melted butter with the Old Bay seasoning.
- Stir into panko bread crumbs until evenly distributed.
- Sprinkle on the top to the pasta mixture.
- Place the Dutch Oven into a 350 degree oven on the middle rack for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly and the topping slightly browned.