I love macaroni and cheese! Whether it’s in the blue box, velveeta, or homemade….I can eat this stuff all the time! I stumbled upon this recipe on a cooking board I belong too and knew I would have to try it! We had some family over this weekend from Nevada. They had been traveling for a few days and were looking forward to a nice home cooked meal! I accompanied this macaroni and cheese with country homestyle ribs, corn bread, corn on the cob, and some salad. It couldn’t have turned out better! I didn’t expect for us to finish it all…needless to say, I didn’t get a picture of it prepared! The picture here is of the leftovers!
There were 8 of us and the ¾ of a pound was just enough for a side. If you are cooking this for a smaller group you could easily reduce the recipe or just enjoy the leftovers!!
For the Topping:
¼ stick unsalted butter, melted
2 cups panko or coarse style breadcrumbs
1 cup grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
For the Cheese Sauce and Macaroni:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter *I used 5 tablespoons to ensure macaroni wouldn’t dry out
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes *I didn’t measure, but probably ended up with close to 1.5 tablespoons…we love anything spicy and with great flavor!
2 ¾ cup whole milk
¾ cup heavy cream
4 cups grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
1 ½ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¾ pound elbow macaroni
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease pan with butter or cooking spray.
For the topping:
Mix together panko, butter and cheese in a medium bowl. Set aside.
FOR THE SAUCE
Melt butter in a heavy pot over low heat. Whisk in flour and red pepper flakes, whisking constantly, for about 3 minutes to make a roux. Whisk in milk in a slow steady stream. Increase heat and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Simmer for another 3 minutes, stirring frequently until mixture is thickened. Stir in cream, cheese, mustard, salt and pepper until cheese is melted. Remove from heat and set aside.
COOK THE MACARONI AND ASSEMBLE THE DISH
Cook macaroni according to package directions, making sure to add plenty of the salt to the cooking water. (At least 1 tablespoon for every 4 quarts.) undercook macaroni about 3-4 minutes so that it is al dente. This ensures the pasta won’t get mushy when cooking.
Stir together macaroni and sauce in a large bowl or in your sauce pot if it’s big enough. Transfer to prepared baking dish, mixture will be loose.
Sprinkle topping evenly over mixture and bake for about 25-35 minutes. Top should be golden and bubbling.