***I'm speechless...utterly speechless by the cheesy goodness that overwhelms you while indulging in this wonderfully scrumptious dish. I promise I'm not over-exagerating...LOL...This Mac & Cheese is sinfully yummy. I found it while perusing Pioneer Woman's new cookbook: The Pioneer Woman Cooks. By the way - You totally need this cookbook!!
Once you make this, you'll never, ever go back to the orange stuff in the box. There's just no comparison. I used a combination of Gruyere, Swiss, and Cheddar cheeses. That's just what I had on-hand, and the flavors worked great together....especially the Gruyere cheese, which has GOT to be one of my favorites! As you may have noticed, I also used shell shaped pasta...not the traditional elbow pasta. Again, it was just a matter of what I had in the pantry.
This recipe made a GIANT pot of mac & cheese....It was SO good, that Brad and I had it 3 nights in a row....Haha. Fortunately, it reheats wonderfully. I made the bechamel sauce in my Le Creuset dutch oven, added all the other ingredients, and then baked it all in the same pot...easy peasy! So, you don't necessarily have to end up with a sink full of dishes at the end of the night.
Make this tonight...You'll be in L.O.V.E.!!!
Macaroni & Cheese
Source: The Pioneer Woman Cooks; thepioneerwoman.com
4 cups dried macaroni
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2-1/2 cups whole milk
2 teaspoons (heaping) dry mustard
1 whole egg, beaten
1 pound cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon salt, more to taste
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt, more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Optional Spices: Cayenne Pepper, Paprika, Thyme
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cook macaroni until very firm. Macaroni should be too firm to eat right out of the pot. Drain.
In a small bowl, beat egg.
In a large pot, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Whisk together over medium-low heat. Cook mixture for 5 minutes, whisking constantly. Don't let it burn.
Pour in milk, add mustard, and whisk until smooth. Cook for 5 minutes, until very thick. Reduce heat to low.
Take 1/4 cup of the sauce and slowly pour it into the beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid cooking the egg. Whisk together until smooth.
Pour egg mixture into sauce, whisking constantly. Stir until smooth.
Add in cheese and stir to melt.
Add both salts and pepper. Taste sauce and add more salt as needed. DO NOT UNDERSALT!
Pour in drained, cooked macaroni and stir to combine.
Pour into a buttered baking dish, top with extra cheese, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until bubbly and golden on top.