Easy, Weeknight Homemade Mac and Cheese
Of the dozens of recipes for this comfort food classic that I have in my recipe file, this one is unique. I start cooking on the stovetop, melting the cheese into a rich, creamy sauce, then finish it in the oven. It’s cheesy and easy, super creamy texture, and once you taste the golden brown, buttery bread crumbs, you will be sold.
A tip for enhancing the flavor in macaroni and cheese:
Shred your own cheese. It really doesn’t seem like this makes a difference, but you can absolutely taste the difference between that and the pre-shredded cheese.
I like to use cheddar cheese in this recipe. It’s a classic. However, you could use almost any cheese you have on hand (in this 4-Cheese Macaroni & Cheese recipe, I used a mixture of Parmesan, pecorino Romano, Taleggio, and Fontina cheese). Gruyere would work well, gouda, too.
Elbow macaroni is my favorite in a classic recipe. You can absolutely substitute with another type of pasta, but for best results, use tubular pasta– it’s the best shape for holding the decadent cheese sauce.
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A Foolproof Recipe for Macaroni and Cheese
- 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
- 3 tablespoons, butter melted
- 12 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni noodles
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 12-ounce can evaporated milk
- 12 ounces aged sharp cheddar cheese, grated (about 3 loose cups)
- 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
Toss the breadcrumbs with the melted butter. Reserve.
Bring a large volume of salted water to a boil in a large pot. Cook the macaroni to al dente and drain well. Place back into the pan it was cooked in and toss in the butter.
In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs, ¾ of the milk, ¾ of the cheese, tabasco, salt, pepper and mustard. Whisk to combine.
Stirring the macaroni and butter over medium heat, add the egg mixture and stir until the cheese begins to melt and the sauce begins to thicken. Add the remaining milk and keep stirring until the cheese sauce is bubbling and hot.
Pour immediately into a greased baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and the bread crumbs.
Place the macaroni and cheese under a broiler to crisp and serve.
Photographs by Madeleine Hill.