Macaroni and cheese is a beloved comfort food in the United States, and many recipes claim to be the best. Here is a classic, rich, and creamy baked macaroni and cheese recipe that many consider to be top-tier:

### Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese


– 1 pound elbow macaroni
– 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
– 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
– 3 cups whole milk
– 1 cup heavy cream
– 4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (divided)
– 2 cups shredded Gruyère cheese (divided)
– 1 teaspoon garlic powder
– 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
– 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
– Salt and pepper to taste
– 1 cup panko bread crumbs
– 2 tablespoons melted butter
– 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
– 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)


1. **Preheat the Oven**: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Butter a 3-quart baking dish or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

2. **Cook the Pasta**: Cook the macaroni according to the package instructions until just al dente. Drain and set aside.

3. **Make the Cheese Sauce**:
– In a large saucepan, melt the 6 tablespoons of butter over medium heat.
– Once the butter is melted, add the flour and whisk constantly for about 1-2 minutes to create a roux (it should be bubbly and light golden).
– Gradually whisk in the milk and heavy cream until smooth. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and begins to bubble, about 5-7 minutes.
– Reduce the heat to low and stir in the garlic powder, onion powder, mustard powder, salt, and pepper.
– Slowly add 3 cups of the cheddar cheese and 1 1/2 cups of the Gruyère cheese, a handful at a time, stirring until the cheese is completely melted and the sauce is smooth.

4. **Combine Pasta and Sauce**: Add the cooked macaroni to the cheese sauce and stir until the pasta is evenly coated.

5. **Assemble the Dish**:
– Pour half of the macaroni and cheese into the prepared baking dish.
– Sprinkle with 1 cup of the remaining cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup of the remaining Gruyère cheese.
– Add the rest of the macaroni and cheese on top.
– Sprinkle with the remaining cheddar and Gruyère cheeses.

6. **Prepare the Topping**:
– In a small bowl, combine the panko bread crumbs, melted butter, Parmesan cheese, and smoked paprika (if using).
– Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture evenly over the top of the macaroni and cheese.

7. **Bake**: Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly.

8. **Serve**: Allow the macaroni and cheese to cool for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy!

This recipe delivers a rich, creamy, and flavorful macaroni and cheese with a crispy, golden topping, making it a crowd-pleaser for any gathering or family meal.

By admin

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