Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese
Recipe type: Pasta
Serves: 4
  • butter for pan
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 Cups dried macaroni (1/2 pound large elbow macaroni)
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
  • For the sauce:
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 Tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 Cups milk, warmed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley
  • 2 1/2 Cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/2 Cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, cut into tiny pieces
  1. 1. Preheat an oven to 375F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan or glass pyrex.
  2. Bring a large saucepan of water to a rapid boil and add the salt. Add the macaroni and stir to separate, then cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until slightly soft to the bite, or according to package directions, stirring occasionally. Drain and rinse with cool water to remove the excess starch. Place in a large mixing bowl. Toss with oil and set aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan over medium to low heat, melt the remaining butter. Sprinkle the flour over the butter and stir to mix well. Cook, stirring all the time, for 2 to 3 minutes or until the flour is well absorbed and the mixture is gently bubbling and golden. Add the warm milk gradually, continuing to stir all the time, and bring the sauce to a simmer. Continue to cook until the white sauce is smooth and slightly thickened, about 3-4 minutes. Add 1 3/4 cup cheese, remove from the heat and whisk constantly until the cheese is completely melted. Stir in the salt, pepper, mustard, and parsley. Pour the sauce over the macaroni and mix to combine.
  4. Transfer the macaroni to the greased baking dish. In a small bowl combine the remaining 3/4 cup grated cheese and the bread crumbs and sprinkle on top of the macaroni in an even layer. Dot with the butter and bake uncovered, for about 25-30 minutes, or until the top is bubbling and beginning to form a crust. Be very careful not to let the crumbs burn. Let the dish stand for 5 minutes before serving.
This extra cheesy macaroni will please the kid in everyone. You can try other melting cheeses to vary the flavor like fresh goat cheese or different varieties of cheddar cheese. The adventurous cook might try adding 1/2 cup small cubes of ham, 1/3 blanched frozen peas, or 1/4 cup shredded fresh basil.
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