Sunday, February 8, 2009

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

I hate mac and cheese from a box. My mom used to make it from scratch and cook it in the oven, but her recipe requires an entire block of Velveeta cheese and it not my favorite. I found this online and everyone seemed to like it pretty well! I read all of the reviews at the end and made a few changes. I'll put them at the end. Enjoy!

Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 45 min
Serves: 6-8 servings (there was plenty for our family of 5 with at least 2 servings left over)

-1/2 pound elbow macaroni
-3 tablespoons butter
-3 tablespoons flour
-1 tablespoon powered mustard
-3 cups milk
-1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
-1 bay leaf
-1/2 teaspoon paprika
-1 large egg
-12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
-1 teaspoon kosher salt
-fresh black pepper

-3 tablespoons butter
-1 cup panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour & mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it is free of lumps. Stir in the onion, milk, bay leaf, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf.

Temper in the egg. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.

Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for 5 minutes before serving.

I used twirly pasta because I had it in the pantry. I also used less than 1/2 an onion and sauteed in a tiny bit of olive oil before adding it to the macaroni. I usually don't like onion but I'm trying to broaden my horizons. LOL

Make sure you don't cook the pasta too long. I pulled it out of the water when it was still a little crunchy in the middle. You don't want it to get mushy. Definitely use the sharp cheddar and use the full amount it calls for. I didn't get a big enough block so I substituted some 4 cheese blend and it wasn't "cheesy" enough. So I might use the full 12 oz in the mix and then use extra on top.

I could taste the butter in it later so next time I might half the roux.

And finally- the 1 cup of bread crumbs was WAY too much. Maybe it was the dish I used, but everyone said there were too many. I'll probably leave them out next time.

Let me know if you make any other adjustments!

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