I have been on a quest for delicious homemade macaroni and cheese, a mac and cheese like none other, one that would satisfy BAJ. This, sadly, was not it. He said that it was "not bad," to which I added, "But still mac and cheese," and he agreed.
From the peanut gallery, however, this was DELICIOUS. Perhaps the best I've made. I can't tell you that this was easy, because it involved a LOT of whisking, but it was well worth it because it was outstanding.
The rest of the peanut gallery agreed... I served it up for The Boy, who had already started feeding himself before I turned my back.
That's right. Not only did he eat it, but he also fed it to himself.
That's SOME Pig.
Anyway, here's the recipe. I went ahead and baked it, fearing the partially done pasta would not be a success. (I was unsure how long to cook this "not done" pasta, so went for half the cooking time on the box). I used rotini pasta, and added a sprinkle of cayenne pepper. I halved everything except did use a whole egg. I used Cheddar cheese as well.
Pioneer Woman’s Mac & Cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
4 cups dried macaroni
1/4 cup (1/2 stick, 4 tablespoons) butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups whole milk
2 heaping teaspoons dry mustard (more if desired)
1 egg, beaten
1 pound cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt (more to taste)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
*Optional spices: cayenne pepper, paprika, thyme
Cook macaroni until very firm. Macaroni should be too firm to eat right out of the pot. Drain.
In a small bowl, beat egg.
In a large pot, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Whisk together over medium-low heat. Cook mixture for five minutes, whisking constantly. Don’t let it burn.
Pour in milk, add mustard, and whisk until smooth. Cook for five minutes until very thick. Reduce heat to low.
Take 1/4 cup of the sauce and slowly pour it into beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid cooking eggs. Whisk together till smooth.
Pour egg mixture into sauce, whisking constantly. Stir until smooth.
Add in cheese and stir to melt.
Add salts and pepper. Taste sauce and add more salt and seasoned salt as needed! DO NOT UNDERSALT.
Pour in drained, cooked macaroni and stir to combine.
Serve immediately (very creamy) or pour into a buttered baking dish, top with extra cheese, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly and golden on top