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This recipe was part of the Food Fight: Macaroni and Cheese Challenge which ended Feb 29, 2008 04:00 PM.
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VOTE 17

Next Level Baked Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

Total Time: 35-45 minutes | Active Time: | Makes: 6 to 8 servings

There’s really no need to remake a classic American staple like baked macaroni and cheese. But, that hasn’t stopped anyone from trying and now mac n’ cheese has numerous variations that add gourmet mushrooms, charcuterie and truffles to a down home classic dish.

However, I’m adhering to the classic recipe that shines because of its simplicity. The only change is I’m using very high quality ingredients and adding just two slight variations i.e. Japanese breadcrumbs (Panko) and cayenne pepper.

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 bag of large elbow macaroni
  • 1 1/2 cups whole organic milk
  • 1/2 cup of organic cream
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 6 tablespoons European style butter (Plugra brand)
  • 1 cup of Tillamook Medium Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 1/2 cup of Grafton Village "Grafton Gold" 3 Year Old Cheddar Cheese
  • 3 slices of Velveeta or similar cheese product
  • Fine sea salt and white pepper to taste
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup of Panko breadcrumbs and cayenne pepper to taste
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Cook macaroni al dente according to package directions. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Add butter to large saucepan under medium low heat and stir in flour, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly.
  3. Slowly add milk to flour mixture and continue to stir until blended. Add cream and continue to stir mixture and increase heat until it boils. Congrats, you’ve made the base sauce (a roux)
  4. Immediately reduce heat to lowest setting and add 2 cups of cheese and Velveeta slices to roux and continue to stir until the cheese is fully incorporated. Congrats again, now you’ve made a mornay sauce.
  5. Remove saucepan from burner and fold macaroni into cheese sauce.
  6. Transfer macaroni and cheese sauce to a greased baking dish.
  7. In a medium saucepan, add butter and melt. Then add panko breadcrumbs, remaining cheese and cayenne pepper (to taste) and mix quickly under low heat until all ingredients are incorporated.
  8. Crumble panko mixture on top of macaroni and cheese and place baking dish in oven; cook for 20 to 30 minutes or until golden brown on top.

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