Deb’s Perfect Macaroni and Cheese

mac n cheese 6
Here is the dish before the topping was added.

Hi Everyone!  As the temperatures start to cool I like to make recipes that warm your belly and your heart.  My kids love mac and cheese.  I mean who doesn’t??!  I have tried many recipes and this combination is by far my favorite, but the great thing is that you can add any kind of cheese that you love and it will be amazing.  Also, I will give you instructions for baking this recipe, however most of the time I do not bake it as the leftovers can dry out.  The base of this recipe is a basic bachamel sauce, which is a fancy word for a flour and milk based white sauce.  Oh and DO NOT buy pre-shredded cheese.  The result will be a very dry product!  Here goes!!

Deb’s Perfect Mac and Cheese:

  • 1 pound elbow macaroni or cavatelli
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 8 Tbsp unsalted butter-divided
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 8 oz gruyere cheese, grated ( this will be about 2 cups)
  • 10 oz sharp white or yellow cheddar cheese, grated (this will be about 3.5 cups)
  • 1 Tbsp salt (less if using salted butter)
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (optional, but I recommend it)

Topping:

  • 6-8 slices of crisp bacon, crumbled
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs (remove crusts) about 4-5 slices of bread.

If baking this recipe preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Add the macaroni to a pot of boiling water and cook for about 7 minutes until al dente. Drain well and set aside.  

In an extra-large sauce pan melt 6 tablespoons of butter.  Mix in the flour until it is incorporated and cook over low heat for about 2 minutes, making your rue. Stirring with a whisk, gradually add in your milk,whisking constantly, to make sure that you don’t get any lumps.  Once all of the milk is added and the mixture is blended, continue whisking the mixture over medium low heat until it becomes thickened and smooth, approximately 5 minutes.  Remove it from the heat and blend in the grated cheese, salt, black pepper, and nutmeg.  Mix in the noodles and thoroughly combine.  Now here is where you have the choice to serve it as is, sprinkled with crispy bacon, or you can put it into a 3-quart baking dish. Blend the additional 2 tablespoons of melted butter with the bread crumbs, and top the macaroni with the bread crumbs and crumbled bacon.  Bake for 30-35 minutes. Either way you will love this dish.  To reheat left overs I always add a little half and half and then warm it either on the stove top, or in the microwave stirring every 30 seconds.  If you have any questions let me know!  Happy cooking!!  That’s my fabulous, “cheesey” dish today!!

xoxo Deb

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