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The Marys’ Macaroni And Cheese

My wife Mary Ann’s mother made (or so she says) legendary mac ‘n’ cheese. It was made with evaporated milk and margarine, in the days when they hadn’t met a trans-fat they didn’t like. MA says I introduced her to snooty ingredients like real cream in a carton and butter. Baking it is better, she says, but she claims this will work in the microwave too. “You will only be rewarded with the crunchy cheese crust if it’s baked,” sez the mother of my children. “Good things come to those who wait.” If the quantities of cheese and cream here seem crazy, it’s because Mary Ann admits that they are. I one shred more of cheese were used, this would have to be called “cheese ‘n’ mac.”

  • 2 lbs. dried pasta (elbow, ziti, farfalle, penne–pick any two)
  • 1 1/2 pints heavy whipping cream
  • 2 lbs. sharp cheddar cheese, grated

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1. Boil pasta until it’s one step past al dente. Rinse and drain. Lightly salt it and toss.

2. Put a third of the pasta in a two-inch-deep glass baking dish. Light sprinkle of salt.

3. Cover the pasta with one-fourth of the grated cheddar.

4. Pour a cup of the cream over the top until you can a half-inch-deep layer forms in the bottom of the dish.

5. Add another third of the pasta. Cover with another quarter of the cheese, and another cup of cream.

6. Repeat the step above with all the remaining pasta, one-fourth of the cheese, and the remaining cream.

7. Bake in an oven at 400 until the cheese melts. Mix everything and cover the top with the remaining cheese. Bake again until the top layer of cheese is crusty on top.

Serves about 16.

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