Baked Macaroni and Cheese

When you think about comfort food, a few of the absolute standards come to mind: meatloaf, mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese. There’s something so incredibly satisfying about macaroni and cheese that it continues to be a very popular dish. If you’ve only ever made mac & cheese from a box on the stovetop, then your life is about to change. This recipe for baked macaroni and cheese is easy to prepare, but will taste like you spent hours in the kitchen.

The best thing about baked macaroni and cheese is that bubbly, cheesy crust on top. You’ll get that beautiful top, but underneath there’s also an incredible combination of flavors and pasta to make this dish a ‘go-to’ for any occasion.

A word about processed cheese: we know everyone loves the creaminess that comes from adding processed cheese to the recipe. However, you can get the texture you crave using non-processed ingredients, too. This recipe doesn’t contain processed cheese; instead, a creamy cheese sauce made on the stovetop provides the flavor and texture that only gets better with time in the oven.

Another word about cheese: don’t limit yourself to cheddar! This recipe works great with a variety of cheeses. Experiment with the ones you love and use combinations of more than one type of cheese to take the flavors to another level.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni

2 tablespoons butter, plus about 1 tablespoon for the topping

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/4 cup whole milk

1 cup half-and-half

A splash of heavy cream

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided

macaroni and cheese

Begin by preheating the oven to 350 and butter a 2.5 quart baking dish. Prepare the macaroni according to directions while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Once melted, and add the flour and stir constantly to incorporate once it begins to bubble, slowly add the milk, half-and-half, and cream. Cook until mixture thickens slightly then add 2 cups of cheddar cheese, pepper and paprika and stir to incorporate. This is the cheese sauce you’ll add to the macaroni before baking.

Once the macaroni is cooked, drain it and then combine in a large bowl with the cheese sauce. Pour mixture into greased casserole dish and top with remaining cheese. Dot the mixture with butter and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until cheese on top is melted and bubbly. Place on the counter and allow to set for a few minutes before serving.

This delicious baked macaroni and cheese is a wonderful main course for dinner. Simply serve alongside a salad and vegetables for a delicious, nutritious and comforting meal. It also makes a great accompaniment to steak, chicken, pork chops or seafood. Try this delicious and simply recipe for baked macaroni and cheese; we’re sure this one will end up in the recipe box and on the menu for years to come

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