October is American Cheese Month!

I wouldn’t have known except for Pat Ford and Tim Welsh up at  Beehive Cheese Company. And of course they're not talking about Kraft singles. American Cheese month is to celebrate cheeses like Beehive's American cheddar Barely Buzzed has won lots of awards, including several from the American Cheese Society which dreamed up American Cheese Month.

In honor of American Cheese Month, Beehive is offering 25 % off its Teahive Cheesethrough October.  The newest addition to the Beehive Cheese family, Teahive combines the comfortable aroma of tea and bergamot with its creamy cheddar. Check it out.

America is indeed full of great cheesemakers. One of the best is Paula Lambert, a longtime friend of mine in Dallas, who founded The Mozzarella Company in 1982 and produces prizewinning mozz, cacciotta, ricotta and goat cheese, besides being the best cheese proselytizer around. She travels constantly, holding cheese tastings everywhere, and has written two cheese cookbooks.

In SLC, you can find her cheese at Liberty Heights Fresh.

But speaking of American cheese, and since it’s Tuesday, my recipe day, I’d like to share Paula’s recipe (from The Cheese Lover's Cookbook) for mac and cheese. It’s my family’s favorite—we think it goes particularly well with champagne on Christmas Eve—and its secret ingredient is the most American cheese of them all.

Here’s Paula’s recipe, the way I make it.

2 Tbsp. butter

3 Tbsp. flour

1 ½ cups milk

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. ground black pepper

½ tsp. Tabasco sauce

1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1 lb. macaroni

2 Tbsp. butter

½ clove minced garlic

8 oz. Cheddar cheese, shredded

2 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

SECRET INGREDIENT: 8 oz. Velveeta, cut into cubes

1 stack of Ritz crackers, crushed

softened butter

Smear softened butter in an 8 x 13” baking pan.

Melt the 2 Tbsp. butter in a heavy saucepan. Stir in the flour and whisk till smooth. Add the milk slowly, whisking, to form a smooth mixture. Cook, still stirring, until it thickens. Add salt, pepper, Tabasco and Parm, Set aside.

Boil the macaroni until al dente and drain.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Toss hot pasta with butter and garlic. Stir in sauce. Spread one third of the pasta in the baking dish, sprinkle with half the grated cheese, top with pasta and more cheese, top with pasta. Tuck the SECRET INGREDIENT Velveeta cubes down into the pasta at decent intervals. Top with cracker crumbs and bake about 40 minutes till brown and bubbly.