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Recipe request

I am looking for a very rich and unhealthy macaroni and cheese recipe. For some reason all day I was sitting at work thinking how good homemade macaroni and cheese, not made from the box but made from scratch, would taste. These are the requirements:

  • It must come out of the oven with a pronounced orange color. I do not like macaroni-colored macaroni and cheese.
  • That means the cheeses in the recipe must be orange-colored cheeses like Cheddar. However, I prefer mild Cheddar to sharp -- sharp Cheddar tastes sour and bitter to me.
  • The recipe must result in a thick, almost custardy dish. Runny macaroni and cheese makes Baby Jesus cry -- or anyway, it makes me cry, and it's my stomach this is going into.
  • My boss suggested I put slices of cheese on the top to get a nice crust, but while I like a nice crust I am not too fond of a layer of just cheese.
  • It must use real ingredients, not lite-this and low-fat that.
  • I prefer the small macaroni to the large size. I don't like macaroni that looks like those gigantic undersea worms.
  • No extra ingredients like bacon or onions or anything like that. I just want macaroni and cheese.

Paste links or recipes in comments.

Update: I am eating a Stouffer's frozen macaroni meal (for one person) because I had it recommended to me by someone at work. I don't think I'd actually eaten Stouffer's macaroni and cheese before. It's quite good, but lacks something -- it's a tad "grainy." (I don't know how else to describe it -- it's missing a certain creaminess that I unfortunately associate with Velveeta cheese, but I'd like to avoid Velveeta if at all possible. I mean, If I wanted to use Velveeta I'd just buy their boxed mix which is just the macaroni with a squeeze packet of their pre-made cheese sauce. Good stuff, but not homemade.)

Comments (10)

Try the recipes from the folks at Cook's Illustrated/ America's Test Kitchen. Here's a link. Since that recipe was published, they've come out with a variation that they say is a little less rich, but I haven't tried it and I don't have the link.

If you find one that's acceptable, be sure to publish it. Your description is pretty close to my ideal, with the exception of the cheese on top.

M&C is damn hard to do correctly, and while Stouffer's comes close, it does lack. M&C is so far off my diet, though -- I sometimes sit and think about curling up with a half-gallon bowl of it. Or four pint bowls of it, so every spoonful will be hot.

Annalucia [TypeKey Profile Page]:

I think this is the one you're looking for. It's from the book ``Cover & Bake,'' published by the editors of Cook's Illustrated magazine. I give it to you verbatim; you can fiddle with it as you like.

One warning: this is a BIG recipe, it fills a 9 x 13 dish and could feed six people easily. What I do is divide it into smaller pans, freeze, and pull 'em out as needed. Here goes:



4 slices white sandwhich bread, torn into quarters
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Macaroni and Cheese:

1 pound elbow macaroni
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 1/2 cups whole milk
16 oz colby cheese, shredded
8 oz extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Ground black pepper

1. For the topping: process bread and butter in a food processor fitted with the steel blade until coarsely ground, about six 1-second pulses.

2. For the macaroni and cheese: Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a Dutch oven over high heat. Stir in 1 tablespoon salt and the macaroni; cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain the pasta and leave it in the colander; set aside.

3. Wipe the pot dry. Add the butter and return to medium heat until melted. Add the garlic, mustard and cayenne; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until golden, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the chicken brother and milk; bring to a simmer and cook, whisking often, until large bubbles form on the surface and the mixture is slightly thickened, 5 to 8 minutes. Off the heat, whisk in the colby and cheddar gradually until completely melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Add the drained pasta to the cheese sauce and stir, b reaking up any clumps, until well combined. Pour into a 9 x 13 baking dish (or a shallow casserole dish of similar size) and sprinkle with the bread-crumb topping. Bake until golden brown and bubbling around the edges, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes before serving.


BTW if you're going to freeze it for later, don't put on the bread-crumb topping - that should go on just before it's baked. Thaw it thoroughly before baking, add topping, cover with foil (yes, really) and bake until moderately hot, 25-30 minutes. Remove foil, bake another 25-30 minutes until breadcrumbs are browned.

My husband likes this, my kids do not, so it's safe to say that you won't mistake it for the stuff that comes in the box. Enjoy.

Hm -- that does sound good. I may test that one out. But not until the weekend -- so if anyone has any other recipes, post it here! I'll pick one and make it. Or maybe try each one once a week.

prairiecat [TypeKey Profile Page]:

We don't eat much mac&cheese round here anymore, but I found a recipe that looks simple enough even for me to try. Like you, I usually prefer "straight" mac&cheese. Foodtv.com has several casseroles that have mac&cheese as the base I'm going to have to try...thanks, Andrea!

Macaroni and Cheese
Recipe courtesy Empire Diner, New York
Show: The Best Of
Episode: After Hours
3 pints whole milk
3 ounces white roux (butter and flour mixed in equal proportions and cooked)
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 pound American cheese
10 ounces grated Monterey Jack cheese
4 ounces grated Fontina cheese
12 ounces shredded cheddar cheese (sharp)
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
8 cups drained, cooked elbow macaroni
Bread crumbs

Heat milk and stir in roux to thicken. Dissolve salt, mustard and nutmeg in a little water and add to thickened mixture. Reduce heat. Gradually stir in with a wooden spoon all the cheese. Continue to cook, stirring constantly until cheese has melted and sauce is smooth. Mix with elbow macaroni, top with bread crumbs and bake in a preheated 400 degree oven until browned and bubbly.

Ask and ye shall receive:


One box generic mac and cheese (may substitute 1/2 pound uncooked macaroni)

One pound sharp cheddar (may use medium or mild, as you like), divided


1. Place box or macaroni in trash, or donate to neighbor or local homeless shelter

I would have detailed "divided into bite-sized pieces" but I don't want to restrict your creative impulses.

Ken: sorry, but I've already decided that this must be real "homemade" mac-'n'-cheese, and not just meaning "made at home." No boxed stuff! Also, I actually do plan to eat it.

Thanks, Annalucia! Yes, that's the "second" mac and cheese recipe I was referring to. I haven't tried that one yet. The recipe I linked to can be made on the stovetop (and can be finished in the oven with breadcrumbs, if that's how you like it.)

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Don't worry, he's just chopping broccoli.


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