Baked Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

We average a box of macaroni and cheese a week at my house.
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Do you have a regular weekly dish at your house?  This week, I surprised my family by making a homemade version of macaroni and cheese.

My baked macaroni and cheese recipe isn’t anything extraordinary.  But somehow, the warm, cheesy pasta dish always feels like a big hug, like I can whisper into my kids’ ears and tell them everything is going to be alright.  That’s probably why I made it, since I don’t think there’s such a thing as too many hugs.

Try it at your house!

Baked Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

8 cups boiling water

1 teaspoon salt

1 16-ounce bag of large elbow or shell pasta

1/2 cup butter

1/3 cup flour

2 cups milk

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon white pepper

1 teaspoon dry mustard

3-5 drops tabasco

3 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, divided

In a large sauce pan, bring 8 quarts of salted water to a rolling boil.  Add the pasta and cook to al dente.  Drain and set aside.  In a large skillet, melt butter and add flour. Whisk together until mixture is smooth and lump-free.  Slowly add milk and seasonings and continue to stir until sauce begins to thicken.  Add 3 cups of the cheese and continue to stir until sauce is creamy and smooth.

Remove from heat and fold in the cooked pasta.  Pour mixture into a 9 x 13 casserole dish.  Top with remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.   Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until bubbling and golden brown on top.  Makes 8-10 adult servings.

Optional: I typically use sharp cheddar cheese to give more flavor and my kids never notice the Tabasco.  You can also top the dish with garlic bread crumbs if you want a crunchy topping.

Since we skipped opening a box for dinner, it seemed appropriate to whip up a pan of brownies for dessert.  Yes, from a box.

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