Saturday, April 13, 2013

Recipe - Baked Macaroni and Cheese

The boys, like pretty much every kid, love macaroni and cheese.  Brody especially, would eat it everyday for lunch and dinner.  The good ol' blue box has lost a its appeal a bit for Greg and I, just because it is requested so often.  My solution?  Scour the internet for a macaroni and cheese recipe that will get both the kids and adults happy to see it on the dinner table.  And this is the recipe I found that does just that.  I've made it a couple times.  It tastes the best when you follow the cooking times exactly.  The rue is very thick, thicker than any other rue I've ever made.  But I promise it tastes the best that way, so don't bail out of the cooking time because you think it's getting too thick.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese
 
8 oz. macaroni
3 tablespoons butter
¼ cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon dry mustard
¼ teaspoon black pepper
⅛ teaspoon smoked paprika plus more for sprinkling on top
2½ cups 2% milk
3 cups grated medium cheddar cheese
crumbled bacon for garnish

Boil the pasta until al dente, according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking, and return to the pan you boiled it in. Set aside. While macaroni is cooking preheat the oven to 375 degrees and in a sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter.  Add the flour, salt, dry mustard, pepper, and ⅛ teaspoon smoked paprika. Stir constantly over medium heat for about three minutes.  Stir in the milk.  Keeping on medium heat, whisk constantly for about 10 minutes, until the sauce thickens.  Remove from heat, and stir in 2 cups of the cheese, stirring until melted.  Pour the cheese sauce over the noodles and toss gently until all noodles are covered.  Add half the noodles to a two quart casserole dish.  Sprinkle on half the cheese.  Add the rest of the noodles.  Sprinkle on the rest of the cheese, and dust lightly with the smoked paprika.  Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until it starts getting a slightly dry and a tiny bit brown on top. Serve, topping individual servings with cooked, chopped bacon if desired.

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