The beloved blue box of macaroni and cheese holds many childhood and college memories. It is one of those classic comfort American dishes that I absolutely love. Maybe because it was one of the few items that I ate religiously without a care if it was microwaved or if came out of a box. I loved coming home to my mom’s version – macaroni and cheese with hot dogs. (Filipino mom’s love putting hot dogs in American dishes!) Macaroni and cheese is definitely on my list for the top ten comfort food dishes that I love. Macaroni and Cheese-lovers have differing opinions on which method is the “perfect” way to macaroni and cheese – stove-top, baked, or from a box. I’m not going to lie but I LOVE them all. I’m not going to pick one and say it’s my favorite because I’m a lover for a big bowl of mac and cheese. This fancy and grown up version from Alton Brown kicks it up a notch from the box. Creamy and gooey sharp cheddar cheese melted with butter and more cheese over elbow macaroni with crunchy bits of panko buttery topping – comfort food for the soul. Enjoy!
Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Adapted from Alton Brown – Good Eats: The Early Years Ingredients ½ pound elbow macaroni
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon powdered mustard
3 cups milk
½ cup yellow onion, finely diced 1 bay leaf ½ teaspoon paprika
1 large egg 12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded 1 teaspoon kosher salt Fresh black pepper Topping: 3 tablespoons butter 1 cup panko bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the elbow macaroni to al dente. While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Keep whisking until there are no lumps. Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf. Temper in the egg. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese. Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.
Review: Cheesy perfection in a bowl. Baked Macaroni and cheese paired perfectly with my fall-themed dinner of roasted chicken and vegetables and roasted tomatoes with garlic, gorgonzola and herbs. Have you heard of the Grilled Cheese truck? They make a grilled cheese stuffed with macaroni and cheese and bbq pork and caramelized onions…ridiculous right? Save your leftovers for that crazy creation, or not. LOL