White Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese

The casserole. It is the comfort food of comfort foods.

This White Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese by Beth Colvin fills that need for warm and cheesy carbs.

In a story from our archives, Beth tells how the casserole is largely a product of hard times — the Great Depression and World War II — and a subsequent boom in women going to work outside the home. It was further spurred by the invention of those "cream of" condensed soups.

Homemade mac ’n’ cheese is certainly harder than the stove-top boxed version, but it’s well worth the extra effort, both in taste and in leftovers, Beth assures.

And, she says while she normally uses cheddar, you can use any other grated cheese or a mixture of cheeses — whatever you have on hand.

Be careful of the salt in some of the harder cheeses. Always taste as you go and adjust your seasonings to your palate.

White Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese

Makes 6-8 servings. Recipe is by Beth Colvin.

4 cups uncooked elbow macaroni

1 stick butter

1 large onion, chopped

3 teaspoons minced garlic

¼ cup flour

2 cups milk

4 cups white cheddar, divided

Dash nutmeg

⅛ teaspoon white pepper (to taste)

Salt and cayenne pepper (to taste)

¼ cup bread crumbs

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Cook pasta according to package directions. While it’s boiling, prepare cheese sauce.

3. Melt butter in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Do not allow to brown.

4. Add flour and stir to combine. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, then stir in milk. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Add 3 cups of cheese and, stirring frequently, cook until melted.

5. Add seasonings and, continuing to stir, cook about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings accordingly.

6. Drain pasta and pour into large bowl. Pour cheese sauce over warm pasta and stir to combine. Pour pasta into a 9-inch-by-13-inch casserole dish. Top with 1 cup shredded white cheddar and breadcrumbs.

7. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until golden brown and bubbly.