Creamy Macaroni & Cheese

This recipe by Julia Moskin is from the New York Times.  It’s easy and cheesy and perfect for Super Bowl Sunday.

Authors Note:  There are two schools of thought about macaroni and cheese: some like it crusty and extra-cheesy, while others prefer it smooth and creamy. But most people are delighted by any homemade macaroni and cheese. It is light years ahead of the boxed versions. This creamy version has one powerful advantage for the cook: it is made with dry pasta, so there’s no need for precooking. The pasta cooks in the oven, absorbing the liquid from the dairy products.  This is no place for fancy cheeses or fancy noodles. Leave the whole-wheat penne and artisanal orecchiette in the cupboard and bring on the elbow pasta.

 

Photo by Andrew Scrivani for the NYT

 


 

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 12 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
  • 12 ounces American cheese or cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
  • 1 pound elbow pasta, boiled in salted water until just tender, drained, and rinsed under cold water
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne (optional)
  • Salt
  • ⅔ cup whole milk

Directions:

Step 1
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Use one tablespoon butter to thickly grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Combine grated cheeses and set aside two heaping cups for topping.

Step 2
In a large bowl, toss together the pasta, cheeses, cayenne (if using) and salt to taste. Place in prepared pan and evenly pour milk over surface. Sprinkle reserved cheese on top, dot with remaining butter and bake, uncovered, 45 minutes. Raise heat to 400 degrees and bake 15 to 20 minutes more, until crusty on top and bottom.

 

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