4/26/11

Mac n Cheese

I've never met anyone who didn't like Macaroni and Cheese whether it be the homemade creamy kind, the breaded topping kind, or the blue and white box kind.  I love macaroni and cheese that is creamy but have never found a homemade recipe that didn't seem dried out and less than flavorful - until now.  If you're like me and you're searching for a mac and cheese recipe that delivers creamy goodness with great flavor, the search is over.

Pioneer Woman delivers a delicious version with her mac and cheese recipe.  The trick to the creamy texture is to serve it immediately after you've added the cheese to the pasta.  If you prefer a baked version, feel free to put this mac and cheese in a baking dish and bake it.  I tried it both ways.  I tried it before and after baking, and I definitely prefer this before baking.  The picture below shows the creamy texture before the pasta is baked. 

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Macaroni and Cheese
Ingredients: 
4 cups Dried Macaroni 
1 whole Egg Beaten 
¼ cups (1/2 Stick Or 4 Tablespoons) Butter 
¼ cups All-purpose Flour 
2-½ cups Whole Milk 
2 teaspoons (heaping) Dry Mustard, More If Desired 
1 pound Cheese, Grated (Don't buy the shredded kind.  Buy a block and grate it yourself.  Trust me on this.)
½ teaspoons Salt, More To Taste 
½ teaspoons Seasoned Salt, More To Taste (I use Lawry's Seasoned Salt.)
½ teaspoons Ground Black Pepper 
Optional Spices: Cayenne Pepper, Paprika, Thyme (I didn't use any of these.)

Directions:  

Cook macaroni until very firm. Macaroni should be too firm to eat right out of the pot. Drain. In a small bowl, beat egg.

In a large pot, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Whisk together over medium-low heat. Cook mixture for five minutes, whisking constantly. Don’t let it burn.  Pour in milk, add mustard, and whisk until smooth. Cook for five minutes until very thick. Reduce heat to low.

Take 1/4 cup of the sauce and slowly pour it into beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid cooking eggs. Whisk together till smooth.  Pour egg mixture into sauce, whisking constantly. Stir until smooth.  Add in cheese and stir to melt.  Add salt and pepper. Taste sauce and add more salt and seasoned salt as needed! DO NOT UNDERSALT.

Pour in drained, cooked macaroni and stir to combine.  Serve immediately (very creamy)(This is my preference!) or pour into a buttered baking dish, top with extra cheese, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly and golden on top.

Source:  The Pioneer Woman

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