For the last few years, our favorite macaroni and cheese is a recipe my sister discovered in Jan Karon’s Mitford Cookbook called Puny’s Macaroni and Cheese. Jan Karon wrote the charming Mitford series which are the perfect books to cozy up with and read next to a roaring fire on a wet, stormy night. Her cookbook is based on her rural Mitford, North Carolina characters’ homespun recipes. My kids even like this macaroni better than Kraft macaroni and cheese. So, I didn’t think I would ever taste a macaroni and cheese I liked better and then I went to my friend Gale’s house for lunch. She made Beecher’s “World Best” Mac and Cheese for us and it was scrumptious. I had five helpings. I am so confused now. So, here’s the deal: please make both and tell me which one you prefer!
Punys Macaroni and Cheese
Adapted from The Mitford Cookbook by Jan Karon
- 1/3 cup/ 4 T. butter
- 1/2 cup flour
- 3 cups milk
- 4 oz. cream cheese
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 t. salt
- 1/4 t. nutmeg
- 1 1/2 t. dry mustard
- 1/4 t. cayenne (optional)
- 1/2 t. pepper
- 4 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup parmesan
- 1 pound macaroni
- 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
- Melt 1/3 cup butter in a heavy bottom saucepan, whisk in flour. Cook for a couple of minutes. Slowly whisk in milk as if you are making a white sauce and cook until thickened.
- Then whisk in cream cheese, sour cream, salt, nutmeg, mustard, cayenne pepper, cheddar and parmesan. Stir until melted.
- Mix macaroni in and transfer to a buttered large casserole. Top with bread crumbs mixed with 4 T. melted butter.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
Here’s the competition:
Beechers Worlds Best Mac and Cheese
Adapted from Pure Flavor by Kurt Beecher Dammeier
- 1 pound penne pasta, cooked al dente
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
- 1/3 cup flour
- 3 cups milk
- 14 oz. (3 1/2 cups) Beechers flagship cheese (substitute cheddar), grated
- 2 oz. Beechers just jack cheese (substitute jack), grated
- 1/2 t. kosher salt
- 1/4 to 1/2 t. chipotle chile powder
- 1/8 t. garlic powder
- 2 oz Beechers flagship cheese (substitute cheddar), grated
- 2 oz Gruyere or jack cheese, grated
- 1/4 t. -1/2 t. chipotle chile powder
- Make the flagship sauce by melting the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat and whisking in the flour. Whisk and cook for 2 minutes and then slowly add the milk, whisking constantly. Cook until the sauce thickens, stirring frequently.
- Remove from the heat and add the 14 oz. flagship and 2 oz. jack cheeses, salt, chile powder and garlic powder. Stir until the cheese is melted.
- Combine the sauce with the cooked pasta in a medium bowl and transfer to a buttered casserole dish.
- Sprinkle the top with the 2 oz flagship and 2 oz. jack cheese and chili powder.
- Bake uncovered for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.