Homemade Baked Mac and Cheese
1 lb. dried elbow noodle pasta
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 1/2 cups half and half
3 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (save ½ cup for topping)
1 cups grated raclette cheese
1 cup grated gouda cheese
1 cup grated monterey jack cheese (save ¼ cup for topping)
1 Tbsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. Paprika
1 cup Italian herb Panko bread crumbs
1. Bring a medium sized saucepan of water to a boil with a pinch of salt. Cook the elbow noodles 8-10 minutes or follow the al dente cooking instructions on the package. Strain and lightly oil the pasta to reduce sticking.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and grease 9x13 pan.
3. To make the sauce: melt the butter over medium-low heat. Once the butter is melted, make a roux by slowly adding the flour while whisking to incorporate.
4. Once combined, slowly add the milk and half and half to the mixture while constantly mixing until smooth. Bring the liquid to a slight simmer.
5. Slowly mix and add the cheese while stirring. Do not add the cheese all at once - be sure to take your time. Salt and pepper to taste. Save cheese of your choice to top the mac and cheese for the baking stage.
6. Once the sauce is creamy, cheesy and salted, combine your cooked noodles and cheese sauce in a large bowl or pan. Mix and spread evenly in your baking dish of choice. Fill the dish about two-thirds full to allow room for the cheese to bubble when baking.
7. Finish by topping with shredded cheese and Panko bread crumbs. Leave uncovered and place into the oven to cook at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes. If you like a really brown crusted top you can finish with a broil setting for 1-2 minutes. Remove from oven, serve and enjoy.
Sponsor: Duerden's Appliance & Mattress