I can't believe it's August.
Where did July go?! July brought my one year anniversary of moving to Phoenix (which I forgot to celebrate since I was in San Diego for the 4th), my job one year anniversary & my two year blogiversary. Crazy celebrating to be had! Which I missed!
A minor celebration in itself, I made baked mac & cheese for me and the boyfriend. Some evenings are just meant for comfort food, cozy sweats, a movie & falling asleep curled up on the couch.
This super creamy recipe was incredibly rich, as you would expect it to be after adding almost two full cups (!!) of shredded cheese. Oh and all the butter. That probably helped too.
As a kid, my mom never bought american cheese, or easy mac, but made the occasional (might as well have been never!) box of cartoon shaped kraft mac&cheese. I grew up appreciating real cheese flavor, not the processed plastic junk in its perfectly square neon color. This homemade cheese sauce has depths of flavor that a powder packet could never compare to! Such a tragedy for those who are fed the boxed kind all the time (with the exception of the annie's white cheddar stuff. Mmm). Combine the cheesy sauce with the noodles in a deep glass pan.
A bit more cheese for the top, since clearly we haven't already added enough.
A bit more melted butter to hold together the herb panko crust. Sprinkled on top & thrown into the oven to bake into cheesy pasta comfort food dish heaven. The smell with test your patience like never before, but after 35 long minutes it'll be ready to dive in to!
Baked Macaroni & Cheese
Adapted from Alton Brown's Good Eats
- 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 tablespoon powdered mustard
- 3 cups milk
- 1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 large egg
- 12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Fresh black pepper
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.- In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta al dente.
- While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter.
- Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep stirring for five minutes. Make sure there are no lumps.
- Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf.
- Temper in the egg. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
- Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.
- Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat, top the macaroni.
- Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.