At the request of a follower/friend (Kim), I have finally put up my favorite, easiest, Mac and Cheese recipe that is always a crowd pleaser and is versatile enough to make just plain, or dress it up a little for the grown-ups….or those kids with a finely developed palette. I have one of each so I made this recipe as a base that can be built upon.
Below is just the basic recipe and following the base are some additions that may sound intriguing, but really once you have the base…..use your imagination!
AND Please!!! use real cheese (not pre-grated) and whole milk. If you want to skinny it down or make it easier, don’t blame me for the after taste or gritty taste that’s left in your mouth.
- 4 cups of pasta (elbows…and 4 cups is equal to a whole box)
- 2 1/2 cups of WHOLE milk (get it to somewhat room temperature)
- 1 lb or grated sharp cheddar (put some muscle into it…you’ll be pleased)
- 1/2 stick of butter
- 1/4 cup of flour
- 1 beaten egg
- 3 tsp of dried mustard
- 1 tsp seasoned salt (Lawrys) or more to taste
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp ground pepper (not coarse)
Cook pasta in boiling water for 6 minutes (2 less than package says). put drained pasta aside.
Beat an egg into a small bowl that will accommodate additional liquid….set aside.
In a large pot (not too deep, you’ll be whisking a lot), melt the butter and then pour in 1/4 cup of flour. This will make a roux, for this dish it should be a nice yellow color.
Once the roux is complete, pour in the milk slowly and whisk the entire time. This sauce will thicken upon cooking when it sticks to the whisk it is done.
Now put the ground mustard into the sauce along with the salt and pepper. Check seasoning before you put the pasta in. Make sure it’s salty enough at this stage, it’s important to get it seasoned correctly and not have the salt sit on top of the Macaroni and Cheese after the pasta is added. Here I add additional spices to make it spicier if that’s something you want to do (like cayenne pepper, pepper flakes, etc)
After the sauce has been seasoned correctly, incorporate the cheese. You can reserve about 1/4 cup of the cheese to mix in with the topping (recipe below)
Now for the beaten egg…I knew you were wondering when this would come in. I learned it from the Pioneer Woman and it sure does make a creamier mac and cheese.
TEMPER your egg….take 1/4 cup of the hot cheesy liquid and mix it slowly into the beaten egg. THEN you can incorporate it into the sauce without the egg scrambling.
Pour cooked pasta into the cheese sauce and mix well. You can eat the creamy goodness now, or grease a baking dish and top with cheese or topping recipe and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
- 1/4 cup of butter
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- t tbs dried minced onion
- 1 tbs garlic powder
melt butter add bread crumbs and cook until absorbed. Add seasonings and cook for 2 minutes. sprinkle
DRESS UP IDEAS:
Put any of these ingredients into cheese sauce once complete, prior to adding pasta.
- Cooked Bacon with a little Blue Cheese
- Prosciutto and Asiago Cheese
- Cooked Lobster
- Buffalo Sauce and Blue Cheese