Out of all the foods out there, macaroni and cheese is my absolute favorite. No, I don't mean the plastic-like junk out of a box. I mean creamy, cheesy, homemadey (is that a word?) goodness that is baked in an oven in a sea of scratch-made cheese sauce.
This recipe calls for Parmesan cheese. For the love of Mama Dixie, PLEASE don't use the prepackaged powdered kind. Look for a real block of Parmesan cheese in the deli section of your grocery store. It will make a huge difference in the taste and texture of this dish.
What you need:
12 oz dry elbow macaroni
1/4 cup salted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2cups milk
1 cup Half-and-Half
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
salt & pepper to taste
4 cups shredded sharp cheddar, divided
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
How to make it:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Cook the macaroni according to the directions on the package, but shave off about 2 minutes. You still want the pasta to be a tiny bit firm. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it, and then rinse it with cool water. You want to make sure you get rid of the starch.
3. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, then quickly whisk in the flour. Stir constantly while cooking this mixture for 2 minutes.
4. Slowly whisk in the Half-and-Half, milk, mustard powder, and onion powder. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened a bit.
5. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and stir in the Parmesan cheese and 3 cups of the shredded cheddar. Stir until the cheese is melted.
6. In a large bowl, stir the macaroni and cheese sauce together. Pour into a baking dish and top with the remaining cheddar.
7. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until bubbly. Turn on the broiler, and brown the top just a bit.
Let this cool for about 15 minutes before serving. The sauce will thicken as it cools.