Time Required: 45 minutes

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

There's nothing fancy here; it's macaroni, it's cheese,
and it's just trying to pay those ingredients the respect they deserve.
But it is damn good.

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Notes:

The recipe as-written uses ½ tsp cayenne pepper to provide a slight hint of a kick. I usually use 1 tsp when I make this recipe for myself since I like a more noticeable kick, but play around with it and decide what you prefer!

You can also always add additional meats or veggies to this, just pre-cook them and add to the macaroni just before adding it to the casserole dish.

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1 16oz box macaroni (or preferred pasta shape)
  • 4 tbsp salted butter
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 8oz blocks extra sharp cheddar
  • 1 7oz block Kerrygold aged white cheddar
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • roughly 1 cup panko bread crumbs

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Shred all 3 blocks of cheese, keeping them separate for portioning later.
  3. Cook macaroni in salted water until al dente, or slightly chewier than you’d want. Strain and set aside.
  4. Microwave milk for 1.5 minutes.
  5. Melt butter in a large pot over low to medium heat.
  6. Gradually whisk in flour until smooth, then cook for 1 minute, whisking constantly.
  7. Gradually whisk in warm milk until smooth, then cook for 5 minutes, whisking constantly.
  8. Gradually whisk in 1 block of the shredded extra sharp cheddar (plus a little of the 2nd block if desired) and all but a handful of the aged white cheddar, along with the salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, until sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon, adding more seasoning as desired.
  9. Stir cooked macaroni into the cheese sauce, cooking briefly on low heat until slightly thickened.
  10. Lightly grease a large casserole dish and add the macaroni and cheese mixture.
  11. Top the macaroni and cheese with a thin layer of Panko crumbs, followed by the remaining aged white cheddar, then the remaining shredded extra sharp cheddar, and another light sprinkling of Panko.
  12. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the top is golden brown and bubbly with some brown spots. Let cool a few minutes before serving. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 1 week. Either store leftovers in small, single-serve containers or store in the casserole dish and transfer to a smaller container as you eat leftovers throughout the week.
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