Baked Macaroni and (Four) Cheese

Anything with this much cheese has got to be good.
IMG_8648And this is really, really good.  So good you may never want to make macaroni and cheese out of a box ever again.
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I remember one night when my Grandma Maxine made my sisters and me one of our favorite dishes (we were probably 10, 8 and 6 years old): boxed mac and cheese, the kind where you squeeze the Velveeta out of the silver packet.    Grandma really mixed it up by adding in a special ingredient: diced onions.  My sisters and I were horrified that she’d alter the perfection that was that artificially orange pasta.

So it is with a chuckle that I now present my macaroni and cheese recipe with diced onions.  Grandma Max was right; onions are the perfect compliment to this dish; we just didn’t have the taste for it yet.

You can bake your macaroni in a large casserole dish or microwave it in smaller dishes.  Microwaving will give you a creamier texture throughout while baking it will give you more of a crust on top (you can extend the baking time if you want more of a crust.)   I like to drizzle on some sriracha or hot sauce before I serve it and you could bake in some broccoli for a touch of green if you like. IMG_8775

What to buy (serves 6-8):

  • 12 ounces medium shell macaroni
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely diced
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup pepper jack, shredded
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded
  • 1/2 cup monterey jack, shredded
  • 1 cup cheddar, shredded
  • salt and pepper to taste

What to do:

  • preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • in a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook macaroni according to the package directions
  • in a separate pot, melt the butter and whisk in the flour and mustard until combined (will be paste-like)
  • stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika
  • simmer for ten minutes and remove bay leaf
  • slowly add in the egg, stirring
  • stir in 3/4 of the cheese and season with salt and pepper
  • layer cooked pasta into a 9×13 casserole dish and pour cheese mixture evenly on top
  • top with remaining cheese
  • bake for 30 minutes at 350IMG_8628
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this isn’t a pretty picture but this is what your butter, flour and mustard mixture will look like

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add in your onion and pour in the milk

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and then your egg

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