Easy Family Recipes: Ultimate Baked Mac & Cheese

Ultimate Mac & CheeseHot, cheesy, and loaded with delicious, delicious carbs, mac & cheese is a favorite with the entire family. Take a little time to make the traditional version and you'll wow everyone, including yourself. The secret to this dish is something a little cheffy called an onion cloute. Take half an onion, peeled, and attached a couple of bay leaves to the cut side with cloves. Pop the onion into the cold milk, and the flavors will infuse into the milk as it warm, upping the delciousness in the entire dish. Use a variety of cheeses (I like cheddar, Jack, and a little bit of grated Parmesan) based on what you have available and prepare for it to be devoured!

Ultimate Mac & Cheese

Serves 8

  • 1 pound(s) macaroni
  • 1 tablespoon(s) salt
  • 3 tablespoon(s) butter, unsalted
  • 4 cup(s) milk, warm
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cloves, whole
  • 1/4 cup(s) flour
  • 1 teaspoon(s) mustard, dry
  • 5 cup(s) cheese, cheddar, jack, parmesan etc., divided use
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) pepper
  • 1 teaspoon(s) salt
  • cooking spray

Bring a pot of water to a boil with 1 tablespoon salt over high heat. Add 1 pound elbow macaroni
and cook until al dente (check package directions), then drain.

Place milk in a medium saucepan. Place bay leaf on cut side of onion, and attach to onion by
sticking cloves through the leaf, into the onion. Place onion into the milk, then bring milk to a
simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Melt 3 tablespoons unsalted butter in a large deep skillet over
medium heat. Whisk in 1/4 cup all-purpose flour and 1 teaspoon dry mustard; cook for about 1
minute, stirring constantly to keep lumps from forming. Remove onion from milk and discard.
Gradually whisk in 4 cups warm milk, 1 cup at a time. Whisk vigorously, and continue to cook until
the mixture is thick and smooth, about 5 minutes. Stir in 4 cups shredded cheese and continue
stirring until the cheese is melted. Season the cheese sauce with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon
pepper, then add cooked macaroni to the pan. Mix well until macaroni is fully coated with the
cheese sauce.

Pour contents of pan into a 3-quart baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray and
sprinkle the top with 1 cup remaining shredded cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, or until hot and
bubbly.

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Recipe courtesy of The Kitchen Studio Cooking School