I really struggled on if I wanted to post today, or even post a blog this week. Yesterday my grandma Margaret passed away and it’s left me with a lot of thoughts and emotions. I thought a lot about how delicious her cakes were, and how her macaroni and cheese pie was so phenomenal it set my brother on his own personal quest to make the perfect macaroni.
The more reality set in and I thought about it, the more I felt a need to cook the things she cooked. Maybe it was a way to honor her. Or maybe it was a way to feel close to her again after that privilege was taken from me.
Part of me even thought maybe it would be too hard to create something based in memories that come with a sepia-toned glow when all you’re facing in the present is a stark sense of grief. But as I spent the day making her rum cake recipe and doing my best to figure out how to make her macaroni pie I felt a sense of therapy.
Even though I never got the chance to know her exact macaroni recipe, as soon as I tasted the fruits of my guess work I had that moment in Ratatouille where the food critic immediately is warped to his childhood, and without realizing it, I smiled.
- 1 lb short pasta of your choice, my favorite is shells
- 3 12 oz cans PET brand evaporated milk
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 5 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 cup shredded Velveeta
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- A pinch cayenne
Preheat the oven to 350. Cook your pasta according to package directions, minus about two minutes. You want it to be on the al dente side since it’s going in the oven. Drain and set aside.
In a large bowl combine the evaporated milk, eggs, 3 cups of the cheddar, all of the velveeta, the salt, pepper, and cayenne. Make sure everything is homogenous as possible. Stir in your noodles, making sure everyone is coated in the goo.
Grease a 9×13″ baking dish with either cooking spray or butter. Pour the noodle mixture in and top with the remaining cheddar. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Allow the macaroni about 20-30 minutes to rest so that the custard like filling is able to set up. Sprinkle the top with paprika.