This one’s an original recipe. I’ve been trying to find a good mac and cheese recipe for like two years now, not that I’ve been trying very hard.
My mom makes a Velveeta macaroni and cheese that’s pretty good, but the problem with Velveeta macaroni and cheese is that it’s a little gluey and the taste is a little more American cheese than cheese. Don’t get me wrong, I like American cheese, Velveeta, and Kraft macaroni and cheese, but I’ve been trying to find a good recipe for mac and cheese with real cheese.
I first tried Mark Bittman’s mac and cheese recipe, but I didn’t like the consistency, and, like most Bittman recipes, it was too vague and not very flavorful. Next I tried a recipe off a package of elbow macaroni (I don’t remember the brand). That one had good consistency, but wasn’t very flavorful. A few months ago, I tried Alton Brown’s macaroni and cheese recipe (his baked one, not the stovetop one). The flavor was good, but the consistency was terrible. I don’t know if I did something wrong, but the cheese sauce was curdy.
This one is my own recipe. It’s based on Alton’s recipe, but cuts the sauce down a bit, increases the roux-to-milk ratio, and removes the egg (the cheese sauce is based more on the afore-mentioned pasta package recipe).
This recipe still isn’t perfect. I want to experiment with the cheese, possibly substituting in a creamier cheese like jack or muenster for part of the cheddar. I might play with seasoning the breadcrumbs on top and/or adding cheese to the topping. You could also add ham or bacon to this.
Macaroni and Cheese
Cooking Time: ~45 minutes
- 1/2 lb (1 3/4 cup) elbow macaroni
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk (I used 2 cups whole + 1/2 cup skim)
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (about 8 oz)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 Tbl powdered mustard
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 cup finely diced/minced onion
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Cook macaroni according to package directions. You want to take it just a hair past al dente.
- In a large saucepan over medium heat melt the butter. With a whisk, blend in the flour, salt, pepper, and mustard. Cook for a couple of minutes until you have a thin, light brown paste.
- Slowly stir in the milk, a splash at a time, fully mixing in each addition. Stir in the onion, bay leaf, and paprika.
- Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens and begins to bubble.
- Fish out the bay leaf with a fork. Add the cheese and stir until melted.
- Stir together the pasta and cheese sauce in a 1.5-2 quart casserole dish. Top with the bread crumbs.
- Bake 30 minutes, then turn on the broiler and move to the top rack for ~3 minutes or until the crumbs are golden brown.
- Cool for 10 minutes or so to let the cheese set up and so you don’t burn your face.