I’ll be straight-up honest with you. I love this recipe. But I also hate it. Because since I developed it, my husband refuses to eat the blue box macaroni and cheese. And on occasion…I only have a few minutes and want to grab the blue box.
But for every other day of the year, I want to make this: Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese.
I don’t even know where to start. It’s creamy. It’s (obviously) cheesy. I used classic American flavors in this one- straight up cheddar (I will be doing variations in the future!). This also has a perfect buttery, crunchy topping. The crunchy topping was new to me- I’d never had it before. But now mac and cheese seems plain without it.
I was going for classic flavor here, so I used cheddar (a combination of medium and sharp). But feel free to try out other cheeses! I know I will be in the future.
If you have leftovers (it makes a fairly large dish), it re-heats well. But the sauce will thicken up. A lot. So sprinkle some water or milk over macaroni before heating up. Then stir well before serving.
If the chicken in the picture below looks good, check back! I’ll be posting it in the next couple of weeks.
Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese
- 3/8 C. all-purpose flour
- 1/8 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
- 3/8 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. salt
- 3/8 C. unsalted butter
- 1 & 3/4 C. heavy cream
- 1 & 1/2 C. milk
- 1 lb. elbow macaroni
- 2 C. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 C. shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1/2 C. bread crumbs
- 1/2 C. grated Parmesan
- Mise en place (always)! Pre-heat oven to 350°. Grease a glass casserole dish.
- Mix together flour, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, pepper, and salt in a bowl. In a separate dish, stir together heavy cream and milk.
- Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain. While macaroni is cooking, start on sauce below.
- Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Sprinkle flour mixture over melted butter and stir until smooth. Heat on medium-low for 2 minutes, slightly browning.
- Add 1/4 cup of cream/milk mixture to saucepan. Stir in (mixture will thicken initially). Slowly add rest of cream/milk mixture, 1/4 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. Keep it on low heat, not quite a simmer. Continue with low heat, stirring often, for approximately 5 minutes.
- Remove sauce from heat. Add cheese by the handful, stirring well after each addition.
- Mix cooked macaroni and finished cheese sauce. Spoon into greased glass casserole dish.
- Melt last 2 Tbsp. butter. Stir in bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle mixture over top of macaroni.
- Bake in 350° oven for approximately 30 minutes or until bubbly and top begins to brown. (If top is browning too much, cover with foil and then continue baking.)