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


  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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