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Baked Macaroni & Cheese

I have never made Macaroni and Cheese before- and I wanted to give it a try. I’ve seen those commercials for the Kraft Home Bake kind- that looks like it had a nice crispy coating, so I decided to do some digging for an appropriate recipe. I found one from Alton Brown that I decided to try, with a few changes of course. (Naturally as a mad recipeist I can’t just leave the damned recipe alone, now can I?) What came out was much better than I could have ever hoped for. It was absolutely delicious! We ate half the pan last night at dinner. (More recipes coming from last night’s dinner- I assure you of that!) I definitely encourage all of you to give this a try- because it is well worth the time it took.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound of elbow macaroni (or pasta of choice, I assume)
  • 3 table spoons of butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups of milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 1/2 cups of triple cheddar cheese
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups of panko bread crumbs (and 3 tablespoons of butter)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a casserole dish.
  2. Boil salted water to cook the pasta. Pasta is best if cooked al dente. Drain the pasta when it is done.
  3. In a separate pot (a large one, you’ll be adding cheese to it) melt 3 tablespoons of butter. After butter melts, whisk in the flour. Whisk until there are no lumps left in the flour. Then stir in the milk and paprika. Simmer this for about ten minutes- so that it is warm enough to melt the cheese.
  4. Temper in the egg. (Basically add the egg a little at a time while stirring. Otherwise the egg will cook in the pot of hot milk instead of mixing. Be careful!)
  5. Stir in 2 cups of the triple cheddar cheese. Then add salt and pepper to your tastes.
  6. Stir in the cooked and drained pasta into the cheese mixture.
  7. Pour the pasta and cheese into the casserole dish, top with the last 1/2 cup of cheese.
  8. Melt another 3 tablespoons of butter in a pan. After the butter is melted, add the panko bread crumbs. Toss them in the butter until well coated.
  9. Top the macaroni and cheese with the bread crumbs.
  10. Bake for 25-30 minutes- until the bread crumbs appear toasted.

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