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Baked Macaroni and Cheese

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macaroni and cheese

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

K. Kingsley
A true American classic, this recipe for baked macaroni and cheese couldn't be easier or more comforting. It's also a very versatile dish, lending itself to many variations. For example, no reason to stick to elbow macaroni for the recipe, try it with penne, rigatoni or rotini. And you can mix-up the cheese you use, too. How about a mixture of cheddar and Monterrey Jack, or Gruyere and fontina? The variations on the dish are only limited by your imagination.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces elbow macaroni (3 cups)
  • 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter
  • 1/2 cup finely minced onion
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 cups whole or 2-percent fat milk
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese (2 cups)
  • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs, or 1/2 cup dried

Preparation:

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions. Drain in a colander.

3. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes, or until softened. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring for 1 minute.

4. Slowly pour in the milk and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cook over medium heat, whisking often, until mixture thickens and bubbles, about 6 minutes. Stir in the mustard and cayenne pepper.

5. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the shredded cheese until melted and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

6. Add the pasta to the cheese sauce and toss to coat. Scrape the mixture into a 9 - by- 13-inch baking dish.

7. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheese and breadcrumbs. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the top of the macaroni and cheese.

8. Bake the casserole until the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Serve hot.

Recipe Notes

• You can mix-up the recipe some by adding 1 cup of chopped ham and/or 1/2 cup of thawed, frozen peas.
• Another variation for this macaroni and cheese is to use Fontina cheese and add some sauteed, chopped mushrooms and spinach, or use some Monterrey Jack cheese and add some canned chopped green chilies and a little chili powder.
• Make individual servings of mac and cheese: Spoon the macaroni and cheese into 1 to 2 cup-size ramekins, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
• To ensure that the sauce is smooth, add the cheese in small batches, stirring until smooth before adding the next batch.
User Reviews

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 5 out of 5
A Keeper!, Member dishing

This is the best macaroni and cheese that I've ever made or eaten - no more boxed stuff for me. Thanks for the great recipe!

4 out of 5 people found this helpful.

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