Copy Desk Cookoff: Dad’s Mac n’ Cheese

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Stu Spivack.

WARNING: This is the recipe for the greatest mac and cheese ever created. It is said that the vikings ate this after a victorious battle. If you follow the directions wrong there is a good chance that a dragon will come to your house and nom you.


One medium onion

One large carrot

1/2 cup peas

Dried Basil

4 Tablespoons butter

One Tablespoon flour

Milk for sauce

12 to 16 oz pasta (rigatoni, bow ties or penne)

18 oz. cheese (combination swiss, raclette, aged gouda, regular gouda and approximately 1 oz parmesan).

1.  Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet. While the butter is melting, chop the onion finely and add to the pan. Cook over low to moderate heat until the onion softens.

2.  While the onion is cooking, chop the carrot into small dice.  When the onion is almost done add the carrot to the pan and cook for a few minutes. Add the peas and turn off the heat. Sprinkle with basil, stir and set aside in a small bowl.

3.  In the same pan heat the remaining 2 tablespoons butter until melted. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring the flour/butter mixture for two or three minutes. Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly, until the sauce is formed. The sauce should have a medium thick gravy consistency. Turn off heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and set sauce aside.

4.  Place a large pot of water over high heat. While the water is heating, grate the cheese. Combine the various cheeses in a bowl, but keep the parmesan separate.

5.  When the water is boiling rapidly, add the pasta and cook until al dente (look it up if you don’t know italian). Drain the pasta thoroughly and let sit a couple of minutes. Make sure the pasta is fairly dry.

6.  Put the pasta back into the large pot. Add the vegetable mixture and stir. Add the sauce and stir. Lastly, add the cheese a bit at a time, stirring after each addition.

7.  Butter two large baking pans. Put half of the pasta mixture in each pan and smooth to a consistent depth. Sprinkle half of the parmesan on each pan.

8.  Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and place under a pre-heated broiler until top is well-browned.

9.  Serve immediately. The pans will be very hot! Don’t get burned!