I spent years perfecting this macaroni and cheese. Years! And it is just that – perfect.
My three key ingredients: nutmeg, cayenne and a smoked cheese. Nothing crazy, but an ideal combination.
Most baked macaroni and cheeses usually include an egg or two to make it more cohesive. I’ve found that I like my mac like I like my women – loose and cheesy — so no egg here. If you want yours a little tighter, mix in an egg right before baking.
I have also often wondered how this would be without baking. I think it’d be amazing. If you don’t bake it, DO NOT add an egg in. This is a good way to get salmonella and I refuse to be responsible for that.
Per usual, if you have questions, ask below. And don’t be put off by a lil roux/béchamel action. It’s not as scary as it seems. This recipe is for a 13×9 casserole dish.
- 4-5 cups of cooked elbow noodles (cooked per box directions)
- 6 tablespoons of all purpose flour
- 1 stick of butter
- 1.5 cup of heavy cream
- 2.5 cups of whole milk
- 4 oz extra sharp cheddar
- 4 oz medium sharp cheddar
- 4 oz smoked gouda or cheddar
- 4 oz Velveeta cheese
- 1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 3-4 tsp of seasoned salt (If you don’t already have seasoned salt in your house, buy some now)
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp cayenne
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt your butter over medium heat. As butter melts, sprinkle flour over it, whisking it continuously to make a roux. Continue to cook, stirring with a wooden spoon for about 4 minutes, or until the roux is light golden.
- Maintaining medium heat, slowly pour milk and cream into the roux, continuously stirring. Continue whisking for about 2 minutes and then raise the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a low boil – continue to whisk for another 2 minutes. Then turn heat down to medium-low and allow to simmer, whisking occasionally, until the béchamel is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
- Still on medium-low heat, slowly incorporate the cheeses into the mixture until melted. You can increase the heat to medium if the cheese isn’t melting very quickly.
- Add in all of the seasonings and spices and stir. Then gradually mix in your cooked noodles. You should have a nice cheesy ratio. Transfer mixture to baking dish, cover with foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes.