Your Signature Dish Andrea Weigl shares Triangle home cooks’ go-to recipes.

Signature Dish: Jeanette’s Macaroni & Cheese

February 15, 2014 

When we put out a call for readers’ go-to recipes – the ones that their friends and family request most often or demand be prepared for holiday meals or other get-togethers, we heard from several readers.

The first recipe comes from Susan Preston, 56, of Chapel Hill. She first encountered this dish after her brother died and a thoughtful neighbor brought her this comforting macaroni and cheese.

“I’ve been to events which have boasted ‘gourmet mac ‘n’ cheese bars’ and have tasted many, many versions of mac ‘n’ cheese,” Preston wrote in an email.

“This one, though, cannot be topped for its simplicity and taste! And now it’s my most requested dish at all of our potluck dinners.”

With its can of cheddar cheese soup, the recipe looks like it might have come from the pages of a church cookbook. But it shows that simple can give fancy a run for its money.

Jeanette’s Macaroni & Cheese

2 1/2 cups (8 ounces) dried rotini pasta

1 (10-3/4-ounce) can cheddar cheese soup

1 egg, beaten

2 cups whole milk

1 (8-ounce) block of extra sharp cheddar cheese, such as Cracker Barrel, grated and divided

HEAT oven to 375 degrees.

BRING water in a stockpot or large Dutch oven to a boil. Add rotini pasta and cook until al dente, per package instructions. Drain pasta. Return to pot and stir in cheddar cheese soup. Mix well.

BEAT egg in a small bowl with a fork. Add milk and stir to combine.

LAYER half the pasta in the bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish. Top with half the grated cheese. Layer remaining pasta and top with remaining grated cheese. Pour 2 cups milk and beaten egg over entire mixture. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes until golden brown on top. Serve warm.

Yield: 8-10 servings.

Signature Dish gets recipes from local readers. Tell us about your most requested recipe or nominate someone to have their recipe featured at Signature Dish, The N&O, P.O. Box 191, Raleigh, N.C. 27602; or email aweigl@newsobserver.com.

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