In “Hera,” Part Ten of Light of Olympus: (How to Be Super, Book 2), Dante travels back to Austin after a stressful trip to Marfa. While the trip was supposed to be a vacation, it ended up being anything but, as Dante worried about “the Old Ones,” Pan, and his grandfather's illness.
When Dante finally arrives home, he's relieved to see his mother again. She's made his favorite three cheese mac and cheese, and the warm, buttery goodness envelopes him with feelings of comfort and safety, as he thinks about what will happen next.
If there was a poster child for comfort food, it would be homemade macaroni and cheese. It's not fancy, but I think, for may of us, it harkens back to the same feelings Dante has in this story—comfort and safety and a loving parent taking care of us.
This recipe is written for a basic cheddar mac and cheese, but you could easily sub in your favorite mixtures of cheeses to make the flavors more complex. And if you've had bad luck with homemade cheese sauce in the past, this recipe is definitely for you! It comes together like magic before your eyes. Enjoy!
Homemade Mac and Cheese
1 pound curly pasta
5 tablespoons butter, divided
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
2 cups shredded cheese, divided
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
hot sauce, to taste
¼ cup seasoned breadcrumbs
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large pot of salted, boiling water, cook the pasta according to package directions.
Continue to whisk until the mixture comes together as a sauce. Remove the sauce pan from the heat.
Once the pasta is cooked, drain it, saving about ¼ cup of the cooking liquid. Toss the hot pasta with the cooking liquid, cheese sauce, remaining butter, mustard, salt, and a generous squirt of hot sauce (or more, if you like more heat).
Pop the whole dish into the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese on top is brown and bubbly. This is best served right away, but if you need to reheat it add a few glugs of milk before you do to keep the cheese sauce nice and smooth.
If you enjoyed this recipe, here are a few more you might try:
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About the Author
The Sparkle Kitchen Series is created by Meryl Carver-Allmond.
Meryl lives in a hundred-year-old house near the prairie with her sweet husband, two preschoolers, one puppy, one gecko, and about ten chickens. While she's been writing since she could pick up a pen, in recent years she's discovered the joy of photography, too. She feels lucky to be able to combine those skills, along with a third passion — showing people that cooking for themselves can be healthy and fun — in her Sparkle Kitchen posts.