The Ultimate Comfort Food Baked Macaroni and Cheese

 


There are certain truths that cannot be denied. One has to do with simple baked macaroni and cheese. There is no other dish that I can think of (except perhaps my Mom's mashed potatoes) that conjures up such wonderful memories. There is nothing better than breaking through a crispy crust exposing all the hot cheesy gooey goodness underneath. Everyone has a slight variation on the recipe. The fun is coming up with the perfect mix of ingredients and making it your very own.






Classic Three Cheese Mac & Cheese

Ingredients:

One pound elbow macaroni, cooked - place in large bowl
1 stick butter
1/2 cup all purpose flour
4 cups 2% milk
16 oz. sharp yellow cheddar
8 oz. sharp white cheddar
8 oz. mild yellow cheddar
4 oz. part skim mozzarella
Seasonings as desired: examples below
1 1/2 - 2 cups bread crumbs

The cheeses will be divided as listed below:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

For the sauce:

8 oz. sharp yellow cheddar - shredded
4 oz. sharp white cheddar - shredded
4 oz. part skim mozzarella - cut into small chunks

Cook on low heat. Melt the butter in a sauce pan. Add flour constantly stirring until smooth. Slowly add milk, continue stirring. Add desired seasonings and stir well. Add cheese and stir until thoroughly melted. Pour cheese over cooked macaroni and mix well. Pour mixture into a large greased casserole dish.

For the topping:

8 oz. sharp yellow cheddar - cut into small chunks
4 oz. sharp white cheddar - cut into small chunks
8 oz. mild yellow cheddar - shredded


Place the remaining cheeses in the middle of the casserole and mix around. Sprinkle bread crumbs over top and bake until brown, approx. 30 minutes.

Cooks Tips: It's always best to buy cheese in a block and shred it yourself. When cooked into the sauce block cheeses have a smoother consistency than pre-shredded bagged cheeses. For a richer sauce use 2 cups heavy cream and 2 cups 2% milk. To add interest and a bit of heat you can add
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper or 1/2 tsp mustard powder or a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce. Add some chunks of cooked ham or cooked crumbled bacon. For fun use an unexpected pasta such as cavatappi or gemilli or rotini. If you do not want a crispy crust on this mac and cheese don't use the bread crumbs and bake it covered with aluminum foil.


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