Classic Mac & Cheese

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September 4, 2009 by Erica

I love this macaroni and cheese.  It’s really a simple, satisfying dish.  The girls love it, too.  Sometimes I crumble a sleeve of Ritz crackers on top and put it in the oven for a few minutes to toast them, but I don’t always do it.  It’s also really great to make ahead and freeze.  Once defrosted, put it in a 350 degree oven til warmed through, usually about 45 minutes.
  • 1 lb elbow macaroni
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 5 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 6 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp powdered mustard
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 5 cups milk (whole, lowfat, or skim)
  • 8 oz Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (2 cups)
  • 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups)
  • 1 tsp salt

Bring 4 quarts water to boil in Dutch oven over high heat. Add macaroni and 1 tablespoon salt; cook until pasta is tender. Drain pasta and set aside in colander.

In now-empty Dutch oven, heat butter over medium-high heat until foaming. Add flour, mustard, and cayenne (if using) and whisk well to combine. Continue whisking until mixture becomes fragrant and deepens in color, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk; bring mixture to boil, whisking constantly (mixture must reach full boil to fully thicken). Reduce heat to medium and simmer, whisking occasionally, until thickened to consistency of heavy cream, about 5 minutes. Off heat, whisk in cheeses and 1 teaspoon salt until cheeses are fully melted. Add pasta and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is steaming and heated through, about 6 minutes.

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