My, my, my! Oh, how I love mac & cheese! This Baked Macaroni & Cheese is not overcomplicated. Just two types of cheese and a flavorful béchamel sauce creates this classic go-to macaroni and cheese that is simple for a weekday and worthy for the special occasions.
I have made my fair share of mac & cheese recipes. Weeknight Mac & Cheese, Spicy Macaroni & Cheese, Slow Cooker Macaroni & Cheese, Creamy Macaroni & Cheese. Today, it is all about this Baked Macaroni & Cheese!
This recipe is from America’s Test Kitchen: The New Family Cookbook. When I found this recipe from America’s Test Kitchen, I knew it would definitely be the ultimate Baked Macaroni and Cheese!
I love the fact that this recipe only calls for two types of cheese. A pound of each cheese, which is a lot of cheese. However, you do not have to hunt down 5 different kinds of cheese. Just some Colby Cheese for the creaminess factor, and Sharp Cheddar Cheese for the kick of cheese flavor!
The original recipe calls for a panko bread topping, but I prefer to add more cheese to melt into golden deliciousness on the top. Also, the recipe includes a small amount of cayenne pepper which does add a slight hint of heat. I personally think with the richness of the cheeses and béchamel sauce, the cayenne pepper is mandatory. However, if you or your family are sensitive to any type of spicy heat, you can omit or reduce the amount of the cayenne pepper.
Well… Hello Ranger!
Baked Macaroni & Cheese
- 1 lb 4 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
- 6 T unsalted butter
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 t dry mustard
- 1/4 t cayenne pepper
- 6 T all-purpose flour
- 3 1/2 cups whole milk
- 2/ 1/4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 lb Colby cheese shredded (4 cups)
- 1 lb extra-sharp cheddar cheese shredded (4 cups), divided
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13x9 baking dish.
- Bring 4 quarts of water to boil in a large pot. Add 1 T salt to the water. Add the pasta, occasionally stirring, until the pasta is nearly al dente. (The pasta will finish cooking in the oven.) Drain the pasta and set aside.
- Make sure the pot is dry. Add the butter to the to the pot, and melt over medium heat. Stir in the garlic, mustard, and cayenne pepper. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the flour, stirring for 1 minute. Slowly add the milk and broth, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Simmer the mixture until thickened, whisking often, about 15 minutes. Once thickened, remove from the heat.
- Gradually whisk in all of the Colby cheese and 2 cups of the cheddar cheese until melted and smooth. Stir in the cooked pasta, breaking up the pasta that sticks together. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.
- Sprinkle the remaining 2 cups of cheddar cheese over the top.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the top is golden and the edges are bubbly.
- Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.