Baked, Crunchy-Topping, Mac N Cheese

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Total Time
1hr 20mins
Prep
20 mins
Cook
1 hr

Not your everyday mac n cheese, this recipe is very rich. It is just a tad spicy with the red pepper and dijon mustard. Even with the little bit of spice it is still child friendly. And delicious! I grate my cheese (slowly at that!) so your prep time will be less if you used shredded-from-the-package cheese. You can use unsalted butter in the sauce. If you use regular butter but prefer less salt, then just cut back a bit on the salt listed in the ingredients.

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Ingredients

Nutrition

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Grease a 3-quart shallow baking dish.
  3. Bring a pot of salted water (Who wants bland pasta?) to boil for the macaroni.
  4. The yummy topping: Melt 2 T unsalted butter
  5. In a bowl stir melted butter together with crushed Ritz and 1 cup cheddar until well combined. This can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.
  6. The yummy sauce: In a 5-quart heavy saucepan melt 3 T butter over med low heat.
  7. Stir in flour and red pepper flakes.
  8. Stir about 3 minutes and whisk in milk.
  9. Bring sauce to a boil, whisking constantly.
  10. Simmer, whisking occasionally, for about 3 minutes or so.
  11. Stir in the cream, the 4 cups of cheddar, mustard, salt, and pepper.
  12. Remove pan from heat and cover surface of sauce with wax paper.
  13. Cook macaroni in boiling water, al dente. (per package instructions)
  14. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water.
  15. Drain macaroni.
  16. Return the macaroni to the pot (off the burner) and mix together the macaroni, reserved cooking water, and the sauce. (The sauce does stick a bit to the wax paper when removed)
  17. Transfer macaroni mixture to baking dish.
  18. Sprinkle topping evenly over the macaroni and bake on middle rack for 20 to 25 minutes, or until light golden brown and bubbling.