Is there anything better than creamy, full-fat, indulgent Macaroni & Cheese? No? I didn't think so.
Frankly, "real" Mac & Cheese is something I avoid making due to its insanely high calorie count. I usually get my jollies from a Cooking Light Chipotle Mac recipe. And while that's great, grand, and wonderful, there is an unparalleled level of joy that extra-sharp cheddar in a creamy, mustard sauce brings me.
I'd also like to throw this out there for your consideration: It's too damn cold to not eat fatty food. That's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it.
Classic Mac & Cheese (from the incomparable Reeni, who got it from Betty Crocker)
-8 ounces uncooked Elbow Pasta
-1/4 cup Butter + 1 tablespoon
-1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
-3/4 teaspoon Sea or Kosher Salt
-1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
-1/2 teaspoon Ground Mustard
-1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
-1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard (**I used stone ground mustard...it was awesome.**)
-2 1/2 cups Milk
-3 cups Shredded Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese, 1/2 cup set aside for topping (12 ounces)
-1/3 cup Cornflake crumbs
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 2-quart or 8x8-inch casserole pan.
2. Cook and drain elbows to al dente according to package directions. Pour into casserole pan and toss with a tablespoon of butter.
3. Meanwhile in a medium saucepan melt butter over low heat; whisk in flour, salt, pepper, both mustards, and Worcestershire. Cook over low heat, whisking
constantly until the mixture is smooth and bubbly. Slowly whisk in milk and heat to boiling whisking continuously. Boil for one minute and stir in cheese. Stir
until all the cheese is melted. Remove from heat.
4. Pour evenly over the top of the elbows. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese set aside, and then with the crumbs.
5. Bake uncovered 20-25 minutes until bubbly and golden.
Verdict: THIS is a Mac & Cheese recipe. It's what I want, but usually don't find, in restaurants. It's got a super creamy, luxuriously velveteen sauce, which has a nice-yet-understated flavor. I don't see a reason to experiment with other 'classic' Mac & Cheese recipes, because this has everything you could want in a traditional dish. Make your nagging conscience feel better, and toss some green veggies on the side.