Baked Macaroni and Cheese

June 28, 2023

serves: 6-8

•  1 lb. dried elbow pasta
•  1/2 cup  butter (we suggest unsalted)
•  1/2 cup all purpose flour
•  1 cup whole or 2% milk
•  2 1/2 cups half and half
•  2 cups medium sharp cheddar freshly shredded (measured after shredding)
•  2 cups sharp cheddar freshly shredded (measured after shredding)
•  2 cups Gruyere cheese freshly shredded  (measured after shredding)
•  1/2 Tbsp. salt
•  1/2 tsp. black pepper
•  1/4 tsp. paprika

• Shred the cheese yourself. Preshredded cheese is coated with an anticaking ingredient which prevents it from melting smoothly.
• Substitute elbows with small shells, cavatappi or penne if desired.

•  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a large baking dish.
•  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Once boiling, add dried pasta and cook 2 minutes less than the package directs for al dente.  Drain pasta. (pasta will finish cooking in the oven)
•  While pasta is cooking, shred cheeses and toss together in large bowl to mix.
•  Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Sprinkle in flour and whisk to combine until mixture looks like wet sand.  
•  Continue cooking for 1-2 minutes, whisking often.  
•  Slowly add the 2 cups half and half, while whisking until smooth.  Continue wisking while slowly pouring in the remaining half and half and milk. Wisk until  smooth.
•  Continue to heat over medium heat, whisking  often, until thickened.  
•  Lower heat to low and add 1 1/2 cups of the mixed cheeses, stirring constantly. Once melted and combined, stir in additional 1 1/2 cups of cheese, and stir until  melted and smooth.
•  Remove from heat.
•  In a large bowl, add cheese sauce to drained pasta, stirring to combine fully.  (Depending on pasta used, there may be sauce remaining)
• Add half of the pasta mixture into the prepared baking dish.  
• Top with 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheeses,
• Layer with the remaining pasta mixture.
• Top with the last 1 1/2 cups of cheese and bake for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and lightly golden brown.