Fran DeWine's mac and cheese
Food + Drink

Fran Dewine’s Mac and Cheese Recipe

To encourage quarantine quality time, Ohio’s first lady shared recipes from her own kitchen, including President Ronald Reagan’s favorite take on mac and cheese.

Once you’ve made macaroni and cheese from a box long enough, you forget that the dish is best when cooked slow in the oven to gloriously golden perfection. In March, Ohio first lady Fran DeWine shared a version from her own kitchen as part of an effort to inspire families to spend quality time together through cooking.

This recipe for President Reagan’s Favorite Macaroni and Cheese first appeared in a little-known community cookbook published by the American Cancer Society’s Northern Virginia Division in 1983, courtesy of then-first lady Nancy Reagan. The recipe card Fran DeWine posted online notes the dish as a “wonderful comfort food from a wonderful President!” and includes a photo of Reagan greeting the DeWines and their 10-day-old daughter Alice the week Mike was sworn into Congress in 1983.

The recipe got high approval ratings in our test kitchen, thanks to its simplicity and the fact it delivers on everything we love about homemade mac and cheese.

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President Reagan’s Favorite Macaroni and Cheese | Serves 4

1/2 pound macaroni
1 teaspoon butter
1 egg, beaten
3 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese, reserve 1/2 cup for topping
1 teaspoon dry mustard, dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 F. Boil macaroni noodles and drain. Stir butter, egg and 2 1/2 cups of shredded cheese into the noodles. Pour noodles into a buttered 1 1/2-quart casserole dish. In a separate bowl, combine mustard, salt and milk. Pour over noodles. Sprinkle dish with remaining 1/2 cup of cheese. Bake for 45 minutes or until custard is set and cheese is melted.