Recipe - Baked Mac & Cheese

When I make Mac & Cheese I usually make stovetop because the baked version can be gummy, gritty and sometimes dry.  This version, however, changes all that.  It's from America's Test Kitchen and uses chicken stock {use vegetable stock if you'd prefer} in place of some of the milk.  This small change helps retain moisture while not making it overly rich.  It's delicious.

Baked Mac & Cheese
source:  very lightly adapted from a recipe by America's Test Kitchen

6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 cups breadcrumbs
1 pound elbow macaroni
1 teaspoon dry mustard, dissolved in 1 teaspoon water
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
8 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 1/2 cups whole milk
1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 cups Colby cheese, shredded
1 cup Fontina cheese, shredded {if you don't have, you can substitute with Gruyere or additional Colby}
2 cups Extra-Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Melt 2 Tablespoons of the butter and toss with breadcrumbs.  Set aside.

Cook elbow macaroni according to package instructions, cooking until just about al dente.  Drain and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt the remaining 6 Tablespoons butter over medium heat.  Stir in the mustard mixture and cayenne, cooking for 30 seconds, until fragrant.  Stir in the flour, and cook until golden, stirring constantly, about 1 minute.

Slowly whisk in the milk and broth.  Bring to a simmer.  Cook, whisking often, until mixture is slightly thickened, about 6 minutes.

Remove from heat and whisk in cheeses.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in the drained pasta, breaking up clumps until combined.

Pour into a 13x9" baking pan.  Sprinkle the top evenly with breadcrumbs.

Bake until golden brown and bubbly around the edges, 25-30 minutes.  Let cool 10 minutes before serving.


September Violets said...

I never had baked mac & cheese until as a teen I visited a wizened old lady in NY and she baked it for my mom & I. It was delicious! Sadly since I was too young to care, I never got her recipe. Thanks for sharing yours, as I find the same thing that this often comes out too dry. Wendy x

Our Neck of the Woods said...

I like that there's added moisture so it doesn't dry out in the oven. That's usually why I don't like baked pastas. But this one sounds like a winner!

daisy g said...


Sarah said...

Thanks for sharing Staci! I'll have to try it out. Perhaps for a Lenten Friday night dinner! My dad is a real meat eater and finding things that work for him during Lent is always tough but he LOVES anything cheesy!

Mary said...

This looks delicious! I make a macaroni and cheese with fontina, but it has four kinds of mushrooms, so I only make it on special occasions when my vegetarians are home. Mac n' cheese is the ultimate comfort food!

Big Rigs 'n Lil' Cookies said...

This looks like the best Mac & Cheese... EVER!