One of my all time favorite meals prior to giving up lactose was my Nana's homemade macaroni and cheese. My Nana would always make it for my brother and I whenever she came to visit. I loved this recipe so much so, my Mom also mastered her famous macaroni and cheese because it was in such high demand within our household. Unfortunately, one of the main ingredients in their macaroni and cheese was American cheese, one of the few cheeses I have been able to replace. I have worked long and hard to create a similar cheesy masterpiece and I have finally developed my new favorite lactose free macaroni and cheese. As much as I wish I could continue to enjoy our families traditional macaroni and cheese there is always room for new traditions.
It has been a long winter here in New England so my roommate Sarah and I have been in need of some warm comfort food. Sarah has been a big supporter and avid taste tester of my lactose free creations. With the impending frigid forecast, we decided some delicious macaroni and cheese was just what we needed! We started off this recipe by cooking the pasta and grating our two blocks of cheddar cheese. We used Cabot's Vermont Sharp Cheddar, it's a lot of cheese but that is what makes it so delicious.
After the cheese was grated we combined the lactose free whole milk, regular milk and flour in a large mixing bowl. Next we added the salt and pepper to the milk mixture. Then we whisked together the mixture thoroughly to make sure there were no flour lumps. Nobody likes flour lumps in the macaroni and cheese.
Afterwards, we tossed about 2/3rds of the grated cheese into the milk and flour mixture, combining the ingredients evenly. The rest of the cheese will be used for the final cheesy topping! We then added the cooked pasta into the milk and cheese mixture. A lot of thought went into our pasta choice. We came to the conclusion that we wanted to use shell pasta for our macaroni and cheese. We liked the idea of the cheesy mixture baking into the crevices of the shells, yum. However, you can use whatever pasta you like best in your macaroni and cheese.
Once all of the ingredients were mixed together we poured the macaroni and cheese into a greased 9x9 baking dish.
Sarah and I were in the mood to add a little more texture to our macaroni and cheese. We used whole wheat panko breadcrumbs to give the macaroni and cheese a little crunch. We melted a tablespoon of butter and mixed it into our breadcrumbs before spreading them over the top of the macaroni and cheese, this helped bind the panko breadcrumbs and add some richness to the flavor. However, the panko breadcrumbs are optional and can easily be omitted if you do not like crunch on top of your mac and cheese! Either way, to finish up this cheesy masterpiece sprinkle the remaining 1/3 cheese and some parmesan cheese (adds great flavor) on top and place it in the oven to bake for 45 minutes, until the macaroni and cheese was golden brown.
Our whole apartment smelled so amazing while this was baking! Once it was done cooking we took it out to let it cool for a few minutes before digging in. It was so delicious and just what we needed on a cold New England evening. This recipe made so much! We were able to have plenty to share with friends and some for leftovers for lunch the next day. I am so glad to have homemade macaroni and cheese back in my life! Thankfully this recipe also has my Nana and Mom's seal of approval!
1 lb pasta
1 cup lactose free whole milk
1 cup lactose free milk
2 blocks cheddar cheese
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup parmasean cheese
1 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs (optional)
Cook pasta as directed and set aside. Grate cheddar cheese and set aside as well. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl whisk together, whole milk, milk and flour. Mix in salt and pepper, season taste. Add 2/3rds of grated cheddar cheese (about 3 cups) to milk and flour mixture. Pour cooked pasta into cheese and milk mixture, combine thoroughly. Transfer pasta into a greased 9x9 baking dish. Top with remaining 1/3 cheddar cheese and parmesan cheese.
If desired, melt 1 tablespoon butter and mix with panko breadcrumbs. Spread panko breadcrumbs evenly over macaroni and cheese. Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown.
With lactose free love,