THE RICHEST, CREAMIEST, CHEESIEST MAC AND CHEESE IS A SNAP TO MAKE.
Mac and Cheese is the ultimate comfort food. With its velvety, luscious sauce and its irresistibly gooey, cheddar-cheesy texture, small wonder it’s been one of America’s favorite, easy-to-make dinners for at least 125 years. It became so popular in the 1930s that it was canned and sold ready-made in supermarkets. Need I tell you that Canned Pasta was an abomination to Italian palates? But then, the Italians may not have had much to do with the invention of Mac and Cheese. In fact, Mac and Cheese doesn’t even exist in Italy. No Italian would ever add milk mixed with spices to pasta. Then there’s the cheese. There’s no Cheddar in Italy. Sure, it has distant roots in Italy. Both Penne ai Quattro Formaggi (Penne with 4 Cheeses) and Maccheroni Cacio e Pepe (Pasta with Grated Sheep Cheese and Pepper) come to mind. But Anna Maria Pellegrino of The Italian Academy of Cuisine insists “it’s considered a British and American Dish” (More on the British Connection later). Today’s recipe breaks a couple of rules—we opted for a mix of Gruyere and Cheddar Cheeses. And we topped our sensational dish with a sprinkling of Hot Paprika for the most deliciously, unabashedly creamy-rich version of Mac and Cheese we’ve ever tasted.
THE BEST MAC AND CHEESE? AFRICAN AMERICAN MAC AND CHEESE.
The African American contribution to American Cuisine is overwhelming. Early African American cooks incorporated not just the flavors of Africa into their cooking but also used their own techniques. Mac and Cheese was no exception. Infused into the dish were their own flavors, enriching the creamy sauce and lifting it to greatness. Small wonder Mac and Cheese is cherished for its affordability, versatility, and ability to feed large gatherings at family reunions, church picnics, and other African American celebrations. Today’s recipe owes a considerable amount of its success to Booker’s Soul Food Starters Mac and Cheese Seasoning Mix. Booker’s is amazing. Even though its mix is a series of NOs. No Artificial Ingredients. No Artificial Colors. No Artificial Flavors. No Artificial Preservatives. Unfortunately, that’s all I can tell you. The Ingredient list includes “Spices”, a secret recipe the Bookers aren’t about to give away. All I can say is this is the best Mac and Cheese I ever ate. And here’s a link to buy Bookers www.soulfoodstarters.com
ABOUT THAT ANGLO-SAXON MAC AND CHEESE…
British food historian Dr. Neil Buttery says macaroni cheese has its origins firmly in Britain. It then emigrated to the US and Canada with British settlers. He may be right. Astonishingly, the first British recipe dates back to 1769. Centuries earlier, in the 1300s, there was a hybrid dish of macaroni, cheese, and lasagna, according to Buttery, who claims that in the UK cheese sauce has been eaten with something like pasta for centuries. But traveling further back in time, it all still comes from Italy. Pellegrino says a prototype of history’s first kind of dry pasta was brought to the UK in the Middle Ages by British merchants doing trade along the Mediterranean’s commercial routes.
THE BOOKER STORY – CHERISHED FAMILY RECIPES FOR YOUR PANTRY
Claude and Crystal Booker hail from Spartanburg, South Carolina. Claude grew up eating the best of everything from his grandmother’s four-acre garden. He ate livestock raised on a neighbor’s farm and even hunted small birds for his family’s table. College-educated, with a Master’s Degree, Claude and Crystal have perfected seasoning mixes for yams, peaches, collards, and today’s mac and cheese. There’s another reason to buy Booker’s. “The Booker’s Soul Food Education Fund”, housed in the Spartanburg County Foundation, donates to 501c3 charities that support Black education causes and programs throughout America. Every single time you enjoy a Booker’s Soul Food Starter Kit, part of your purchase helps a Black American attain a quality education. Here’s where to buy Booker’s www.soulfoodstarters.com
HERE’S TODAY’S RECIPE AND AFTER IT, SOME OTHER CHEESY FAVORITES.
THE BEST MAC AND CHEESE EVER!
The creamiest, most luscious version of Mac and Cheese we've ever tasted. And it's so easy to make!
- 2 Cups Heavy Cream
- 2 Packages Booker's Mac & Cheese Seasoning Mix
- 8 Cups of Water
- 2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 8 oz. Elbow Macaroni or Cavatappi
- 24 oz. of Grated Cheese (Cheddar or any hard cheese you enjoy. We used a mixture of Trader Joe's Unexpected Cheddar and Gruyere.
- Sprinkle of Hot Paprika (Optional)
- STEP 1Fill a measuring cup with 2 cups of water. Add 2 packets of Booker’s Mac & Cheese Seasoning Mix and whisk well. Set aside. Start preheating the oven to 350 degrees.
- STEP 2Boil 8 cups of water in a medium sauce pot. Add 2 tbsp of vegetable oil. Stir in 2 cups (8 oz) of dry elbow pasta. Cook pasta 7 to 8 minutes stirring occasionally.
- STEP 3Drain elbow pasta. DO NOT RINSE. Return pasta to sauce pot and add 2 tbsp. Of butter.
- STEP 4Add Booker’s Mac & Cheese seasoning liquid mixture and 16-24 oz of shredded cheese to the cooked elbow pasta in the pot and mix well.
- STEP 5Pour Mac & Cheese mixture into a greased baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Next place in preheated 350-degree oven and bake covered for 35 minutes. Remove foil from the baking dish and bake for additional 5 minutes uncovered. Remove from oven. CAUTION DISH WILL BE HOT! Let stand for 15 minutes to set and enjoy.