You know, Southern classics like this just never get old. Since the time I started my blog nearly nine years ago, I’ve made it part of my mission to share those classic recipes that help define the South’s food culture. While things have changed a little through the years, those tried-and-true favorites still have a special place in my heart … and on my menu. And while every family has its take on particular recipes, one of my favorite recipes is this Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese from Southern Living. Of course, I put my own spin on it by using red rind hoop cheese, but it’s great with a sharp cheddar, too.
Hoop cheese is a mild and creamy cheese that used to be incredibly popular across the South. It has a slightly rubbery texture and mild, nutty flavor. It’s made with milk only and doesn’t include cream or salt like a farmers cheese.
Even though hoop cheese is not as readily available as it once was, many in the South can still find it at locally owned grocery stores, farmers markets or even the local gas station convenience store. But, again, if you can’t find it, a sharp cheddar will work just fine. Y’all enjoy!
Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
Serves 6 to 8
- 2 cups milk
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2½ cups shredded hoop cheese
- ½ (16-oz.) package elbow macaroni, cooked
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Microwave milk on high for 1½ minutes.
- Melt butter in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-low heat; whisk in flour until smooth.
- Cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute.
- Gradually whisk in warm milk, and cook, whisking constantly, 5 minutes or until thickened.
- Whisk in salt, black pepper and 1½ cups shredded cheese until smooth; stir in pasta.
- Spoon pasta mixture into a lightly greased 2-qt. baking dish; top with remaining cheese.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden and bubbly.
If you can’t find hoop cheese, a sharp cheddar will work great.