Baked Macaroni and Cheese
A few nights ago I had the urge to make some mac and cheese from scratch. It's funny because my friend Dawn mentioned that she was making mac and cheese a few days later (unknown that I had made some days prior). Maybe there was some type of weird signal sent out over Austin for people to make mac and cheese, even though the temps outside were reaching 90 degrees which isn't exactly hot comfort food weather.
I searched online until I found this recipe from Alton Brown. He is pretty annoying on his TV show, but he knows his shit. I made a few changes to the recipe while I'll notate below. I'm not just tooting my horn here, but this mac and cheese was delicious. Even Jim said it was the best he has ever had. If you get a hankering for some good mac and cheese, and you don't mind that it will heat up your kitchen while you cook it, then you need to try this recipe.
Recipe courtesy Alton Brown
1/2 pound elbow macaroni
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon powdered mustard
3 cups milk
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced (oops... forgot to add)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 large egg
12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded (I actually used about 8 oz sharp cheddar and about 5 oz of Fontina)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh black pepper
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup panko bread crumbs (I used regular bread crumbs and I also mixed in shredded Parmesan cheese...... probably about 1/4 cup)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta 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. Make sure it's free of lumps. Stir in the milk, onion, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes.
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.
* to temper an egg, you add a little bit (maybe a couple tablespoons) of the hot milk mixture into the scrambled egg and mix it up. This helps slow cook the egg before it hits the hard mixture. Other wise you might get something that resembles egg drop soup