Classic Mac & Cheese (Southern Living Feb 2007)

READY IN: 40mins
Recipe by Peytons Mom

This is the absolute best Mac & cheese I have ever had. The little bit of red pepper makes the difference.

Top Review by Laura2of7

This is a good, basic recipe for macaroni and cheese. No unusual ingredients or extraordinary efforts involved. You could probably add your own variations, but you don't need to.

I would have given it 5 stars, but for a couple of things. I held back on the pepper, using only 1/4 teaspoon of black and just a dash of red. !/4 teaspoon of ground red pepper seemed excessive. I'm glad I tasted the sauce before adding the called-for amount. The dash was just enough to enhance the flavor of the cheese, but not enough to burn my mouth.

I also divided the cheese a little differently, using only 1/2 cup on the top and putting the rest into the sauce. (I like a cheesy sauce.) I'm partial to a crunchy topping, though, so sprinkled 2-3 tablespoons of panko crumbs on the top underneath the cheese.

If I was to make the stovetop version, I would increase the amount of flour and butter by about 1 tablespoon each. The sauce was a bit runny for my liking, although you could probably simmer your al dente elbows in the white sauce a bit before stirring in the cheese. That would thicken it up a little more.

Again, a good basic recipe. It's going into my cookbook. Thanks for passing it along, Peyton's Mom.

Ingredients Nutrition

Directions

  1. Prepare pasta according to package directions. Keep warm.
  2. Melt butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-low heat; whisk in flour until smooth. Cook, whisking constantly, 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk, and cook, whisking constantly, 5 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in salt, black and red pepper, 1 cup shredded cheese, and cooked pasta.
  3. Spoon pasta mixture into a lightly greased 2-qt. baking dish; top with remaining 1 cup cheese.
  4. Bake at 400°F for 20 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
  5. Note: For testing purposes only, we used Kraft Sharp Cheddar Cheese. To lighten, 2% reduced-fat milk and reduced-fat cheese may be substituted.
  6. One-Pot Macaroni and Cheese: Prepare recipe as directed, stirring all grated Cheddar cheese into thickened milk mixture until melted. Add cooked pasta, and serve immediately. Prep: 10 min., Cook: 7 minutes.

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