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Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese

5 from 7 reviews

A super creamy cheesy Baked Macaroni and cheese made with a winning three cheese combination of sharp cheddar, white cheddar and Gruyere cheese.  This recipe serves a crowd so if you have a smaller crowd simply cut it in half.

Scale

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces dried elbow macaroni
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk (2% or whole)
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded white cheddar
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a deep 9×13 inch casserole dish.
  2. Cook the noodles slightly al dente according to package directions and drain well.
  3. Meanwhile in a large skillet over medium heat melt the butter.  Sprinkle in the flour whisking continuously.   Cook for 2 minutes whisking constantly. Add the milk and half and half in several intervals alternating between the two all while whisking. Cook for several minutes to slightly thicken while whisking frequently.
  4. Reduce heat to low and whisk in the half of each cheese a little at a time until melted.  In a large bowl combine the cheese sauce with the cooked elbow noodles.  Layer half of the macaroni in the prepared casserole dish.  Spread half of the remaining shredded cheese over the pasta layer.  Then spoon in the remaining macaroni and top with the remaining shredded cheese.
  5. Bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is fully melted.  Do not overbake as you want the casserole to still be rich and creamy. For best results serve promptly

Notes

  • Cook the elbow macaroni slightly al dente as no one wants mushy noodles in their macaroni and cheese.
  • The flour and butter mixture should be cooked for at least 2 minutes to avoid a pasty floury taste.  Whisk constantly so the flour does not burn.
  • Do not over-simmer and over-thicken the cheese sauce by cooking it too long.  It only needs to be slightly thickened like the consistency of a cream of tomato or mushroom soup.
  • Bake the mac n cheese for only 15-20 minutes as you want the pasta to stay saucy and cheesy.
  • This dish serves 12 however it can easily be halved.  Just halve the amount of ingredients and you are good to go.
  • Gruyere cheese is a smooth melting Swiss Cheese with a nutty flavor.  Most grocery stores carry at least one brand of Gruyere cheese.
  • I have used both Cabot white cheddar and Cracker Barrel extra sharp white cheddar cheese in this recipe with good results.

 

Keywords: southern baked macaroni and cheese, easy baked macaroni and cheese, homemade baked macaroni and cheese

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