mac and cheese

Originally posted: Feb 2011; updated April 2014

mac and cheese with crisp panko top

After attempting mac and cheese from scratch with a friend with some success, I was motivated to make it on my own – better. The first time I tried it on my own, the sauce turned out too grainy. This time round I didn’t skimp with the cheese and also made sure my ingredients were all on hand so I didn’t have to scramble for them. I used PW’s recipe but also added a few elements of Alton Brown’s recipe – the diced onion, bay leaf and crunchy Panko breadcrumbs top.

Mac and Cheese

(adapted from PW and Alton Brown’s recipes)

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups Dried Macaroni
  • 1 whole Egg Beaten
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 Stick Or 4 Tablespoons) Butter
  • 1/4 cup All-purpose Flour
  • 2-1/2 cups Whole Milk
  • 2 teaspoons (heaping) Dry Mustard, More If Desired
  • 1 pound Cheese, Grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt, More To Taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Seasoned Salt, More To Taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • Optional Spices: Cayenne Pepper, Paprika, Thyme
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted

Method:

  1. Cook macaroni until very firm. Macaroni should be too firm to eat right out of the pot. Drain.
  2. In a small bowl, beat egg.
  3. In a large pot, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Whisk together over medium-low heat. Cook mixture for five minutes, whisking constantly. Don’t let it burn.
  4. Pour in milk, add mustard, and whisk until smooth. Add onion and bay leaf. Cook for five minutes until very thick. Reduce heat to low.
  5. Take 1/4 cup of the sauce and slowly pour it into beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid cooking eggs. Whisk together till smooth.
  6. Pour egg mixture into sauce, whisking constantly. Stir until smooth.
  7. Add in cheese and stir to melt.
  8. Add salt and pepper. Taste sauce and add more salt and seasoned salt as needed! DO NOT UNDERSALT.
  9. Pour in drained, cooked macaroni and stir to combine.
  10. Serve immediately (very creamy) or pour into a buttered baking dish, top with extra cheese and/or panko breadcrumbs mixed with melted butter, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly and golden on top.
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