Delicious Macaroni Cheese Baked Recipe

Posted on

Warning: Undefined array key "titleWrapper" in /home/nomercal/public_html/wp-content/plugins/seo-by-rank-math/includes/modules/schema/blocks/toc/class-block-toc.php on line 103

Warning: Undefined array key "titleWrapper" in /home/nomercal/public_html/wp-content/plugins/seo-by-rank-math/includes/modules/schema/blocks/toc/class-block-toc.php on line 103
Spread the love

Sunlight sliced through the window, painting golden squares on the countertop. The air held the promise of a cozy afternoon, perfect for a culinary adventure. Today, my heart yearned for the ultimate comfort food: macaroni and cheese, not just mac and cheese, but a baked masterpiece.

Whispers of Cheddar and Flour

I gathered my ingredients – a symphony of creamy cheeses, their colors ranging from ivory to vibrant orange, like a sunset on a cheese board. Flour whispered promises of a smooth sauce while milk awaited its transformation into a velvety canvas. The macaroni, sturdy little elbows, dreamt of their cheesy embrace.

With a flick of my wrist, the burner sparked to life. As the butter danced in the pan, I whisked flour, coaxing it to a golden roux – the foundation of this cheesy odyssey. Milk poured in, transforming the roux into a silky whisper, ready for the cheese’s grand entrance.

A Molten Embrace

One by one, the cheeses surrendered, melting into the warm embrace of the sauce. Sharp cheddar sang soprano, Gruyere added a mellow alto, and a sprinkle of Parmesan chimed in with a nutty tenor. The aroma filled the kitchen, a siren song calling for patience (not always my strong suit).

Meanwhile, the pasta boiled merrily, each elbow yearning for its cheesy destiny. Once drained, they mingled with the sauce, a warm, melty hug enveloping every curve. I transferred the cheesy chorus to a baking dish, a stage awaiting its golden curtain call.

Golden Bliss Baked to Perfection

The oven, preheated to a welcoming warmth, received the dish. Anticipation simmered as the minutes ticked by. I watched the cheese bubble through the glass door, browning at the edges like a sun-kissed landscape. Finally, the timer announced the grand finale.

Out came the dish, a molten masterpiece. The aroma, now more prosperous and more profound, promised pure cheesy bliss. A sprinkle of breadcrumbs added a final touch, a golden crown for this cheesy kingdom.

Spoon in hand, I dug in. The first bite was pure magic – creamy, cheesy, a symphony of flavors dancing on my tongue. Each morsel was a warm hug, a reminder of simple pleasures and the joy of creating something delicious.

As the afternoon sun dipped lower, I savored each bite, my heart full of cheesy contentment. This wasn’t just mac and cheese; it was a culinary adventure, a celebration of comfort and good food. And the best part? The promise of leftovers is another chance to revisit this cheesy symphony in the coming days.

Tips for a Baked Cheese Symphony

Pasta Perfection:

  • Don’t overcook: Aim for “al dente” pasta, slightly firm to the bite. It will continue cooking in the oven, preventing mushy noodles.
  • Toss with butter: After draining, give your pasta a quick toss with melted butter. This creates a protective film to prevent over-absorption of the sauce and ensures even coating.
  • Add variety: Explore shapes beyond elbows! Shells, cavatappi, or orecchiette offer fun textures and hold the sauce beautifully.

Cheese Nirvana:

  • Shred it yourself: Ditch the pre-shredded stuff. Freshly grated cheese melts smoother and avoids the anti-caking agents that can create a grainy texture.
  • Mix it up: Don’t be afraid to experiment! Cheddar is classic, but Gruyere brings nutty richness, Parmesan adds sharpness, and mozzarella offers gooey goodness. Try combinations like cheddar-Gruyere, cheddar-fontina, or even goat cheese for a tangy twist.
  • Season wisely: Let the cheese shine, but don’t forget salt and pepper! Taste and adjust throughout the process for a balanced flavor.

Sauce Secrets:

  • Roux magic: The roux (butter and flour mixture) thickens the sauce for a luxurious texture. Don’t skip it! Cook it for a minute to avoid a raw flour taste.
  • Milk matters: Whole milk delivers the creamiest sauce, but skim or plant-based milk work too. Adjust the cooking time slightly for different milk types.
  • Spice it up: A pinch of nutmeg, cayenne pepper, or smoked paprika can add unexpected depth and warmth to your sauce.

Golden Touches:

  • Breadcrumb bliss: A topping of crispy breadcrumbs adds a delightful textural contrast. Use panko for extra crunch or mix in grated parmesan for a cheesy twist.
  • Baked to perfection: Don’t under-bake! Aim for a bubbly, golden brown top for a satisfyingly melty and flavorful experience.
  • Leftover love: Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave, adding a splash of milk if needed for extra creaminess.

Bonus Tip: Play with add-ins! Cooked bacon, roasted vegetables, caramelized onions, or even cooked shrimp can elevate your mac and cheese to a whole new level.

How To Make Macaroni Cheese Baked Recipe

You’ve finished your delightful kitchen experience with your macaroni cheese, and now you’re ready to recreate the magic! Here’s a simple guide to making your symphony of cheese:

Ingredients:

  • Pasta: 1 pound (454g) elbow macaroni or another short pasta like shells or cavatappi.
  • Cheese: 4 cups shredded cheese (a combination of different types like cheddar, Gruyere, and fontina works well, but choose whatever your heart desires!).
  • Sauce:
    • Four tablespoons unsalted butter
    • Four tablespoons of all-purpose flour
    • 4 cups milk (whole milk for creaminess, skim if preferred)
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    • Optional: 1/4 teaspoon paprika for a smoky touch
  • Topping (optional): 1/4 cup breadcrumbs

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven: Set your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius). Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.
  2. Cook the pasta: Follow the package instructions to cook until al dente (slightly firm to the bite). Drain and set aside.
  3. Make the sauce:
  • Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  • Slowly whisk in the milk, a little at a time, until the mixture is smooth and thickens.
  • Stir in the cheese, salt, pepper, and paprika (if using) until melted and smooth.
  1. Combine and bake:
  • Stir the cooked pasta into the cheese sauce until evenly coated.
  • Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish.
  • If desired, sprinkle breadcrumbs on top for a crispy topping.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown.
  1. Serve and enjoy!: Let the dish cool slightly before serving. Dig in and savor your cheesy masterpiece!

Tips:

  • Add 1/2 cup of heavy cream to the milk for an extra creamy sauce.
  • No roux? Skip it! Melt the butter and cheese together in the saucepan, stirring until smooth.
  • Get creative! Add cooked bacon, ham, vegetables, or herbs to personalize your mac and cheese.
  • Leftovers? Store in the refrigerator for three days and reheat in the oven or microwave until warmed.

Delicious Macaroni Cheese Baked Recipe

Recipe by Juanitas Diva
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

30

minutes
Cooking time

40

minutes
Calories

300

kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 pound (454g) elbow macaroni or other short pasta

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 4 cups milk (whole milk will make the creamiest sauce, but skim milk can be used)

  • 4 cups shredded cheese (a combination of cheddar, Gruyere, and fontina is ideal, but you can use whatever you like)

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika (optional)

  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs (optional, for topping)

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.
  • Cook the macaroni according to package directions, drain, and set aside.
  • In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  • Slowly whisk in the milk, a little at a time, until the mixture is smooth and thick.
  • Stir in the cheese, salt, pepper, and paprika (if using) until melted and smooth.
  • Stir in the cooked macaroni and make sure it is evenly coated with the cheese sauce.
  • Pour the macaroni and cheese into the prepared baking dish.
  • If desired, sprinkle the top with breadcrumbs.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown.
  • Let cool slightly before serving.