Old Fashioned recipe for homemade Macaroni and Cheese comes from 1861 Civil War recipes cookbook “Civil War Recipes: Receipts from the Pages of Godey’s Lady’s Book“.
The most unusual thing about this recipe is that macaroni are cooked in milk. I haven’t tried that before, but I can tell you that it is a very good idea. The pasta soaks milk flavor while cooking and you don’t need to make sauce separately. And it is all done in one pot.
The original recipe for “Maccaroni Cheese” reads as follows:
“Boil the maccaroni in milk; put in the stewpan butter, cheese, and seasoning; when melted, pour into the maccaroni, putting breadcrums over, which brown before the fire all together.”
As you can see, it is not very precise about ingredient measurements so we are free to interpret as best as we can.
During Civil War they used long, straight “pipe maccaroni” (in Italy called Bucatini) for this recipe. I didn’t have them on hand so I used penne instead. If one wants to be completely authentic, one should make their own macaroni and probably use Parmesan cheese.
Civil War Macaroni and Cheese are different then the kind we are used to, but they are certainly worth a try.
- 2 1/2 cups macaroni or penne
- 4 cups milk
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese
- ground pepper black or white
- a pinch of nutmeg
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- a pinch of paprika
Boil macaroni noodles for about 15 minutes in milk with a pinch of salt. Be careful since the milk could boil over.
When macaroni are done, and they absorb most of the milk, add butter, parmesan cheese, pepper and nutmeg to the pot. Stir until butter and cheese melt.
Transfer to a buttered baking dish (volume 4 cups or 1 liter). Combine bread crumbs with paprika and sprinkle over macaroni. Bake in 350 F (175C) oven for about 20 minutes or until breadcrumbs become lightly brown.