Take a nostalgic journey back in time with our Old Fashioned Baked Macaroni and Cheese recipe. This classic, comforting dish, perfect for serving four, is a cherished blend of tender macaroni, creamy cheese sauce, and a golden, crispy crust. It’s a taste of tradition, reminiscent of family gatherings and heartwarming moments. Join us as we revisit the timeless art of preparing this baked macaroni and cheese, just like grandma used to make.
For the Macaroni:
- 2 cups elbow macaroni (or pasta of your choice)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (for cooking pasta)
For the Cheese Sauce:
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika (optional, for added flavor)
For the Topping:
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)
Step 1: Prepare the Pasta
- Cook the elbow macaroni or your chosen pasta according to the package instructions until it’s al dente. Add a teaspoon of salt to the boiling water for flavor. Drain and toss the cooked pasta with a tablespoon of olive oil to prevent sticking. Set it aside.
Step 2: Make the Cheese Sauce 2. In a saucepan, melt the 1/4 cup of unsalted butter over medium heat.
- Stir in the all-purpose flour to create a smooth roux. Cook for a minute or two, whisking constantly.
- Gradually add the whole milk while continuing to whisk the mixture. Cook until it thickens and becomes a creamy base.
- Add the shredded sharp cheddar cheese, shredded mozzarella cheese, salt, black pepper, and paprika to the sauce. Stir until the cheese melts, and the sauce is smooth and velvety. Adjust the seasoning to your taste.
Step 3: Combine Pasta and Cheese Sauce 6. Combine the cooked pasta and the cheese sauce in a large mixing bowl. Gently fold them together until the pasta is well coated with the cheese sauce.
Step 4: Prepare the Topping and Bake 7. In a separate bowl, mix the bread crumbs with the melted unsalted butter.
- Transfer the macaroni and cheese mixture to a baking dish. Sprinkle the buttered bread crumbs evenly over the top for a crispy, golden crust.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and bake the macaroni and cheese for about 25-30 minutes or until it’s bubbly and the top is golden brown.
Step 5: Serve and Enjoy 10. Allow the baked macaroni and cheese to cool slightly, then serve it to your delighted guests. It’s a comforting taste of tradition in every bite.
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