I've been wanting to post my Southern Style Baked Macaroni & Cheese forever but it's one of those recipes you don't actually have a recipe for. You just kind of eyeball everything and use what you have.
This, however, is not my Southern Style Baked Macaroni & Cheese. This is a hybrid of mine and Hooker Catlin's Macaroni & Cheese.
You see, that hooker puts cottage cheese and sour cream in hers, which just blew my face off to hear. The way my family has always made it is to make a custard mixture of eggs and milk and pour it over layers of pasta and cheese (as opposed to the bechamel variety which is also popular).
I decided to make my macaroni & cheese yesterday and document the recipe. When I was grabbing what I needed from the fridge, I spotted a carton of sour cream and thought... meh, why not?
Combining the two recipes was a reallyreallyreallyreallyreally great idea! It still has everything I love about the custard preparation with a little added creaminess. Score!
Baked Macaroni & Cheese
8 ounces uncooked ziti*
1 egg, beaten
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup whole or evaporated milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 cups (12-oz. by weight) shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
Cook pasta in liberally salted water per package instructions for al dente preparation. Drain pasta and set aside.
Meanwhile whisk egg, sour cream, milk, butter, salt, pepper and cayenne in a large bowl until well combined and smooth. Add pasta and 2 cups cheese then toss to coat.
Add mixture to a small baking dish (about 1.5 quart). Top mixture with remaining one cup of cheese. Sprinkle with garlic salt. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees until browned and bubbly (about 35-40 minutes).
*I prefer the extra large elbow macaroni noodles but they're almost impossible to find these days so I use ziti. Any large, tubular pasta will work. You want a large pasta so that the custard and cheese has enough room to really get inside the pasta.
Serve as a side dish for 8 polite or 4 hungry people. Double this recipe if company's coming. Down here we don't serve this as a main course - only as a side dish. Along with six other sides if it's Sunday. We're pretty serious about side dishes, y'all. For reals.
Speaking of serving it as a side dish only... once when we were visiting my in-laws in Canada, my sister-in-law, Steph whipped up a box of macaroni and cheese for the kiddos' lunch. Angel Baby asked what were were having and when I told her, she asked, "And what else??" Oh... the apple don't fall far from the tree...
Also, it's worth mentioning that most Canadians (at least my family) much prefer the blue box to homemade. Husband LOVES that stuff. I always thought it was funny that they called it "Kraft Dinner" instead of just "macaroni & cheese" until I saw the packaging. Check this out...
Who knew, right?