this is my macaroni and cheese recipe. i hear nothing but rave reviews when i give this recipe out, so i submit this one to you in good confidence that you’ll be quite pleased with the end result. uh, i do that with every recipe, by the way.
why i love this recipe so:
1) taste-wise, it’s got the rich depth of baked mac (and holds it’s shape, a la “cutting a piece” out of the pan.) but texturally, it is still CREAMY mac. baked mac is often brick-like in texture, and this is usually because the recipe contains no processed american cheese. friends, if you want creamy baked mac, velveeta is the key. a bitter pill to swallow for a food snob, but there is no way around it.
2) the onions & sage make it special. very savory and satisfying. add some pork to this if you want to. chopped pancetta? yes. diced ham? yes. crumbled bacon? yes.
my recipe calls for FOUR cheeses. velveeta, shredded cheddar, good quality smoked gouda and good-quality parmesan (good quality = the snooty cheese section of the store). this is a wonderful combination of cheeses for baked mac, guys. creamy, sharp, salty, stinky, smoky. oh man, it’s good. if you want to substitute gruyere or swiss cheese for the parmesan, that would be wonderful, too.
this recipe makes 8 servings. you want leftovers of this. yes, you do.
- 8 oz elbow macaroni (half a box)
- 1.5 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (kraft is fine)
- 1 cup shredded smoked gouda (cheeseboard quality recommended)
- 1/2 cup grated good parmesan (cheeseboard quality recommended)
- 4 oz processed american cheese (USE VELVEETA, FFS!) , cut into cubes
- 6 tbsp butter, divided into 3 and 3
- 1/4 cup minced onion
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk (i use up any cream or half-and-half i have and then fill up to the 2-cup line with the milk)
- 1 tsp dry mustard (you can sub 1 tsp prepared yellow mustard, but dry is better)
- 1/2 tsp dried sage
- 3/4 c seasoned bread crumbs
- salt & pepper (about 3/4 tsp of each is good)
kiddo alert: NONE. in theory, kids should love this because it is macaroni and cheese. if you have a toddler like mine who requires that macaroni and cheese be fluorescent orange, you may be down on your luck.
- preheat oven to 350
- cook macaroni to al dente as directed on box. dump into strainer and rinse with cold water to arrest cooking. let drain.
- melt 3 tbsp butter in a large saucepan over med heat. saute onion for about 3 minutes, and then stir in flour and continue stirring for another minute (it will look like paste — what you’re making is called a roux, and adds depth to flavor and thickness to sauce.)
- stir in milk, salt & pepper, dry mustard, and sage. crank heat up to med-high and keep stirring frequently, until it just begins to boil, then reduce heat to low.
- add all of the cheeses to the milk mixture, and stir stir stir. keep stirring over low heat until all of the cheeses have melted. you will have a wonderful, thick cheese sauce now.
- return macaroni to large cooking pot, and dump/scrape all of the cheese mixture in. gently mix together with a large spoon until macaroni is evenly coated.
- spread macaroni into a med-large baking dish (i use either my square “cornbread pan”, or my 9-inch pyrex casserole dish. you don’t want to use your largest baking dish (lasagne-sized) for this, because your mac will be spread too thin.)
- in small bowl, melt the other 3 tbsp of butter (about 45 seconds). add the bread crumbs and mix with fork. use your hand to sprinkle the buttered crumbs evenly over the top of the macaroni.
- bake at 350 for 30 minutes. the bread crumbs will be golden brown, and the cheese will be bubbling. let it cool before digging it.