G. Hamlin O’Kelley submitted multiple photos of his “macaroni pie,” which his mother makes for every holiday meal. The photo here shows the finished mac-and-cheese, but he wanted to illustrate that in its unbaked state, the casserole should sport plenty of butter.
The butter “makes it,” he says. “Absolutely.”
He adds, “the crispy corners are the best part.”
1 16-ounce box elbow macaroni, cooked according to package directions and drained
1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, grated by hand
2 ½ cups milk
1 ½ teaspoon salt
Big pinch of sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted, plus 1 teaspoon to grease dish
Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit.
Grease a casserole dish with butter. Don’t skimp. Place half of the cooked noodles in a layer on the bottom of the casserole. Cover with half of the grated cheddar. Repeat with the remaining noodles and cheese.
In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, and then add milk, salt and sugar. Mix well. To that add the melted butter, which will congeal in the milk mixture. That’s the secret. Pour the milk mixture over the noodle and cheese in the casserole dish.
Place casserole on a cookie sheet and bake for 45 minutes or until the milk and eggs set. If it gets too dark in the last 10-15 mins, cover loosely with foil. Let casserole rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Editor’s note: G. Hamlin O’Kelley’s mac-and-cheese is one of four competing in The Post and Courier Food section’s recipe contest for a category crown. Over the course of a year, the newspaper will publish four reader-supplied recipes for each of 12 iconic Lowcountry dishes. Featured recipes have been lightly edited to conform with the newspaper’s style, but they have not been tested: It’s up to readers to choose a winner. To weigh in on the mac-and-cheese race, join us at bit.ly/PCfoodFBgroup.