Now I have to admit I wasn’t one for that boxed stuff from my youth. Oh sure, when it was piping hot and my Mom was waving a bowl under my nose I’d have a few forkfuls but then it lost its appeal very quickly.
Ta-da!! This is a tasty homemade version with none of that fake stuff. Layer by layer, the flavors develop right before your very eyes. And oh the wonderful smells that go along with those flavors. Yes, I’ll definitely keep enjoying this one, even after a few forkfuls. Enjoy!
MEATY HOMEMADE TOMATO MAC & CHEESE
- 8 oz macaroni
- 1 lb. Ground Beef Chuck
- Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- ½ C Finely Chopped Onion
- 2 Garlic Cloves, Chopped
- 3 Tbsp Tomato Paste
- 1 Tsp Mustard Powder
- ½ Tsp Paprika
- ¼ Tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
- 2 Tbsp All-Purpose Flour
- 2 C Whole Milk
- 8 oz Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Grated
1. Cook the macaroni according to the package directions until al dente. Drain, rinse under cold water until cool, and drain again.
2. Meanwhile, heat a large Dutch oven over high heat until smoking hot. Add the beef, 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper and spread in a single layer, breaking the meat into small bits. Cook until the bottom is nicely browned, about 5 minutes. Stir well, then push the beef to one side of the Dutch oven.
3. Add the onion, garlic, ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp black pepper to the other side. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir the onion mixture into the beef and push to one side of the Dutch oven again.
4. Add the tomato paste to the other side, reduce the heat to medium, and stir for 1 minute. Stir into the beef until well mixed. Add the mustard powder, paprika, and cayenne and stir for 1 minute.
5. Reduce heat to medium-low. Push everything to one side of the pot. Add the butter to the other side. When it melts, dump the flour over the butter. Stir the flour and butter until the raw flour cooks out, about 2 minutes. Stir the roux into the meat mixture.
6. While stirring, add the milk ¼ cup at a time. Keep stirring until the mixture bubbles steadily for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the cheese until melted.
7. Add the pasta and fold until evenly coated and hot. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
Courtesy of “Carla Hall’s Soul Food: Everyday and Celebration.”