As summer ends and the colder months approach us, our appetites turn towards heavier meals that warm our stomachs. An all-time American favorite comfort food for people of all ages is macaroni and cheese. This classic staple dish is rich and seductive with the ooey gooiness of the buttery cheese sauce that folds in between pasta elbows. There are many versions of macaroni and cheese with multiple combinations of cheeses, spices, toppings, mix-ins and cooking methods. Most of us have eaten the classic Kraft or Velveeta from the box we pick up from the local grocery market. Although it is quick and easy to make, I always believe that having the homemade version tastes ten times better with fresh ingredients. Here is a homemade baked mac n’ cheese recipe that I’ve created myself that leaves everyone with a smile on their face.
What you need:
Cheddar cheese 10.4 oz
Comte cheese 9.6 oz
Gruyere cheese 8.48 oz
I box of macaroni elbows (16oz)
4 tablespoons salted butter
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups 2% milk
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon dry mustard
Fresh cracked black pepper
1 cup of breadcrumbs
1- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grate all the cheeses together in a bowl and set aside.
2- In a pot boil about 6 cups of water seasoned with a teaspoon of salt. After the water is at a full boil, add the macaroni elbows and cook for 10 minutes with occasional stirring. Set aside.
3- Meanwhile in a large shallow pot turn the stovetop to medium heat and add the butter. Once the butter is melted, add the flour. Stir the flour and butter together until the flour is cooked to a light golden brown. This will act as a thickening agent for the cheese sauce.
4- Now slowly add the milk while stirring it into the flour-butter mixture. Then add the grated cheeses to the pot and stir until all the cheese is melted together and uniform.
5- Next add the paprika, dry mustard and just enough fresh black pepper for taste (about three turns on the peppermill or 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper).
6- Drain the water from the macaroni elbows and add the cooked pasta to the cheese sauce. Next stir the macaroni until it is completely covered.
7- Transfer the macaroni in cheese sauce to a casserole dish. Put the dish into the oven and bake uncovered for 30 minutes.
8- Next sprinkle evenly the breadcrumbs on top of the macaroni. Bake for another 20-30 minutes or until the breadcrumbs turn golden brown. Set aside for 5-10 minutes to slightly cool off. Plate and serve hot. Enjoy!