Growing up one of my favorite comfort foods was mac and cheese. During Lent on Friday nights it was always mac and cheese with fish sticks. Of course I hated the fish but gobbled up the mac and cheese. Even during my cancer treatment 10 years ago that dish and grilled cheese sandwiches were about all I could hold down.
Having said all that the only mac and cheese I ever ate was out of a box. It was that blue box from Kraft with the silver packet of squishy cheddar cheese. My husband on the other hand grew up eating homemade mac and cheese. We met 10 years ago just one month after his mom passed away from breast cancer. At the time I was finishing up my own breast cancer treatment convincing myself that this guy I had just met would never stick around. Obviously I was wrong!
Anyway, over all these years he has been telling me about this amazing mac and cheese his mom used to make. A couple of weeks ago he finally got me the recipe. I think it was emotional for him to get her recipe book, see her handwriting again, and take that trip down memory lane. But he did and last weekend we tried the recipe. It was amazing!! She put her little italian spin on it with mozzarella instead of cheddar. We had fun cooking it together and I think for him it was a nice way to honor her memory. I wish I had met her.
So today I want to share her recipe with you! It is so simple and delicious and low fat.
8 oz penne pasta
3 cups 2% milk
3 tbs flour
3 tbs salted butter
1/8 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
8 oz part skim mozzarella (thinly sliced)
flavored bread crumbs 2 tbs
9x13 baking dish
While the water is boiling for the pasta, melt butter in saucepan, then add flour 1tbs at a time, whisk together, add the paprika, salt, and pepper. Slowly wisk in the milk and heat through (don't let it thicken too much) Add the cooked pasta to the baking dish, pour the sauce over pasta. Shake some paprika over the pasta, then add the mozzarella slices over the top to cover the pasta, lastly spread the breadcrumbs over the cheese as your last layer.
Bake at 450 for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese browns on top.
Hope you enjoy!