Unlike the watery, neon-orange coloured macaroni and cheese from a box, baked macaroni and cheese is rich and creamy, with a delicious smell that wafts from your oven as it cooks. Although macaroni and cheese traditionally features elbow macaroni, you can use any type of small, bite-sized pasta such as shells, bow-tie, corkscrew or penne. This recipe makes four meal-sized servings, or six side-dish sized portions.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- 9 x 13-inch baking dish
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1 large pot
- 2 small pots
- 0.454kg. pasta
- 2 1/2 cups milk
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
- Parmesan cheese
Preheat your oven to 400F. Use 1 tbsp of butter to grease your baking dish.
Boil water in your large pot. Once the water reaches a boil, add a dash of salt and the pasta. Boil the pasta for about 5 minutes. Don't fully cook the pasta because it will cook more in the oven later.
Place the milk and bay leaves in the small pot. Heat on medium-low for 5 minutes. Then, turn off the heat and let the milk stand while you brown the flour.
Melt 3 tbsp of the butter in a small pot. Add the flour and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. The flour mixture will brown slightly as it cooks.
Remove the bay leaves and pour 1/4 cup of the milk into the flour mixture. Whisk the mixture until it becomes smooth. Then, add the rest of the milk a little at a time, whisking constantly.
Add the grated cheddar cheese. Sharp cheddar works best because it has a more intense flavour than milk. Stir the mixture constantly as the cheese melts.
Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta and stir the mixture until all the pasta is coated. Season with salt and pepper.
Transfer the cheesy pasta to your baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes.
Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Tips and warnings
- For a healthier version of this recipe, use whole-wheat pasta, cut the amount of cheese in half and add chopped carrots and broccoli. Boil the vegetables along with the pasta.
- Experiment with different types of cheeses and cheese combinations. Try 1 cup Fontina, 1/2 cup Gruyere and 1/2 cup Emmental.
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