Mac and cheese is a traditional American dish that is very popular and loved. Homemade baked macaroni and cheese can be a simple layering of cooked macaroni and shredded cheese. It can also be prepared with a white sauce-cheese base, topped with buttered crumbs and more before baking.
It is very important to use pungent cheeses, such as white sharp cheddar because it's produces the smoothest result. Also, dried elbow macaroni produced by a good Italian brand will absorb a lot of sauce flavor and will have the best consistency .
This recipe learns you how to get the perfect creamy macaroni and cheese consistency that is in my humble opinion the best macaroni and cheese recipe ever!
Yield: 5-6 servings Time: 55 minutes
- 220 g (1 ¾ cups) macaroni
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 25 g (¼ cup) flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon smoked paprika plus more for sprinkling on top
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- 600 ml (2½ cups) milk
- 100 g (3 cups) grated sharp cheddar cheese
- Preheat the oven to 190°C (375 °F).
- Fill a large saucepan with water. Bring to a boil and add macaroni. Cook according to package directions. Rinse under cold running water and drain well to stop the cooking and return to the pan you boiled it in. Set aside.
- Melt the butter over medium heat.
- When butter bubbles, add flour and cook, stirring for 1 minute.
- Add the salt, pepper, smoked paprika and nutmeg and stir for 2 more minutes.
- Slowly pour the milk into flour-butter mixture while whisking.
- Whisk constantly for about 10 minutes, until the sauce thickens.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add 2 cups of cheddar cheese, stirring until melted.
- Stir macaroni into the cheese sauce and toss gently until all noodles are covered.
- Pour half the mixture into the prepared casserole dish.
- Sprinkle on half the cheese and add the rest of the macaroni.
- Sprinkle on the rest of the cheese, and dust lightly with the smoked paprika.
- Bake until browned on top, about 30 minutes.
Tips and tricks:
- Yellow and extra sharp cheddars have the tendacy to become grainy due to their high content of starch so try to avoid them.
- To keep the noodles from sticking, add in a little butter, if it’s going to be awhile before you make the sauce.