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Recipe  •  26 October 2023

 

Perfectly baked mac and cheese

A classic dish, baked to perfection.

I usually don’t crave mac and cheese until I see it. Somehow, this happens every single time. If it worked for you here, then great—my job is done. This mac and cheese is creaminess and cheesiness incarnate. It doesn’t get any more luxurious on the palate in the world of Americanized cheesy pastas than this. It’s truly a beautiful thing.

Makes: 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes

 

INGREDIENTS

  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 lb (455g) uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 3 cups (270g) shredded medium sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 cups (270g) shredded raclette or Gruyère cheese
  • ½ cup (113g) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup (75g) all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups (750ml) whole milk
  • 1¼ cups (310ml) heavy whipping cream

 

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 325° F (165°C). Grease a 3-quart (2.8-liter) baking dish with cooking spray or vegetable oil.

  2. Fill a 5- to 6-quart (4.7- to 5.7-liter) pot about three-fourths full with water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Season generously with kosher salt. When the water is boiling, add the elbow macaroni. Cook according to the package directions, subtracting 1 to 2 minutes from the suggested time. You want it to be just under al dente.

  3. In a medium bowl, combine the sharp cheddar cheese and raclette or Gruyère cheese. Set aside.

  4. Drain the pasta in a colander. To the same pot over medium heat, add the butter. When the butter has melted, whisk in the all-purpose flour. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring often.

  5. While constantly whisking, add in half of the milk. Stir until it begins to thicken, and then add the rest of the milk and all the heavy whipping cream. Continue to stir and heat until the mixture is glossy and lightly thickened.

  6. Turn off the heat and whisk in half the cheese mixture. Continuously stir for 5 minutes, or until the cheese is completely melted and the sauce is glossy.

  7. Add the cooked pasta to the cheese sauce, and fold until completely coated with the cheese. Season to taste with additional salt if needed. Immediately pour half the cheesy pasta into the prepared baking dish. Add half the remaining cheese mixture, followed by the other half of the cheesy pasta, and finally top with the remaining cheese mixture.

  8. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until bubbly and melted. Turn on the broiler and lightly brown the top to your liking. Serve immediately while hot.

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