Recipe: Uber-Cheesy Macaroni and Cheese

by Cate on February 4, 2015

The richest, most delicious cheese sauce accompanies cavatappi noodles in this delicious mac and cheese.

Mac and Cheese - aerial shot-001

I hadn’t planned to have a Super Bowl party.

But we accidentally did.

It started with Nick asking to have a friend over.

And then I didn’t want Madeline to feel left out, so she invited her besties.

Twins.

And then one more.

And one more.

And one more.

And so it goes.

But it was awesome.

Because I could spend the afternoon cooking a random array of delicious food and the game was punctuated by fits of giggles and rounds of Truth or Dare.

HOW DO SIX YEAR OLDS EVEN KNOW ABOUT TRUTH OR DARE?

I have no idea.

But luckily my eavesdropping revealed that it’s a pretty clean-cut version.

Good.

But ugh.

So food.

Nick LOVES Buffalo Chicken Dip, so I made that to make him happy. And Buffalo Chicken Meatballs with this Bleu Cheese Dressing.

Because what’s better than ONE buffalo-themed item, but TWO?

Onion dip.

Because, of course.

I ordered an ice cream cake from our local dairy, and made a recipe for Magic Custard Bars, which I can’t decide if I like or not, so they might not ever see the light of this blog.

And mac and cheese.

Because some REAL FOOD is necessary.

I have made a million recipes for mac and cheese, and we definitely have some favorites, but there is always room to try one more.

Especially when it’s called THE BEST MAC AND CHEESE EVER.

And man, let me tell you, when I tasted the cheese sauce that goes on it? And tasted it and tasted it and tasted it?

I wholeheartedly agree.

This is one that should probably be in your Top 3.

I honestly could exist on nothing but warm, melty cheese sauce for the rest of my life and be quite happy about it.

My hips, however, could disagree.

The recipe is SIMPLE. Perfect for a weeknight, a comfort craving, or when you need to feed multiplying masses of little bodies that are in your living room.

I kept pretty close to the recipe, but swapped out the elbow noodles for cavatappi.

I always find elbow noodles rather ho-hum, and cavatappi are so cute and twirly and heaps more fun.

Make this one. I’m pretty sure you’ll love it.

Mac and cheese - side view-001

Uber-Cheesy Macaroni and Cheese
Recipe courtesy of Amish Reader

Butter a 9×9 baking dish and preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Gather the following ingredients:
Large pot of boiling water
8 ounces elbow macaroni (half of a 1 lb. box) (I used cavatappi)

Cook the elbow macaroni in boiling water for approximately 7 – 8 minutes. Drain, and set aside.

Cheese Sauce Ingredients:
¼ cup butter (1/2 stick)
¼ cup of flour
A generous pinch of ground cayenne pepper (I skipped)
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups half and half
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (I used Cabot cheese, don’t buy pre-shredded)

Mix together the flour, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, black pepper, and salt.

In a 3 ½ quart saucepan melt the ½ stick of butter over medium heat. Add in the flour mixture and stir until it is smooth.

Add the half and half in small amounts, stirring well after each addition to keep the mixture smooth until all 2 cups is added.

Keep stirring while bringing the mixture to a boil over medium heat. The mixture will thicken.

Reduce the heat to low and continue to stir for about another 5 minutes. Take the saucepan off the heat and add the 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted.

Add your cooked, drained elbow macaroni to the cheese sauce, stir well, and taste for seasoning. Some people may like the dish just like this, but if you prefer at crunchy topping, continue on.

Pour into your prepared 9” x 9” glass pan.

Topping:
1 ½ tablespoons butter, melted
½ cup panko bread crumbs

Stir the panko bread crumbs into the melted butter. Sprinkle the mixture on top of your macaroni in the 9″ x 9″ glass pan.
Bake in a 400 degree oven for approximately 20 minutes until it is bubbly and the top begins to brown.

This dish tastes best when first served and should easily serve 6. This dish is based on a recipe from www.macaroniandcheesecake.com.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Joanne February 5, 2015 at 8:10 am

I need to try your mac and cheese! I’m always looking for THE ONE. The cavatappi are such a good call.
Joanne recently posted..Salted Caramel Peanut Butter

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