Happy National Mac and Cheese Day! There are so many ways to give traditional creamy macaroni and cheese some pizzazz. If you want, you can add seafood, poultry, or veggies to the mix. While we’re not necessarily purists, we’ll be giving you the base recipe and let you decide if you want to dress it up.
WHAT YOU NEED:
- Kosher salt
- 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp. dry mustard
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1/4 cup minced yellow onion
- 1/2 tsp. sweet paprika
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 lb. (3 cups) sharp cheddar, shredded
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 lb. (2 cups) elbow macaroni
WHAT YOU’LL DO:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it generously.
- Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and mustard and whisk for 5 minutes. Just keep it moving; you don’t want any lumps. Whisk in the milk, then the onion and paprika. Simmer, whisking occasionally, for 10 minutes.
- In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg. Continue beating while adding a little bit of the simmering sauce. Whisk this back into the sauce, then stir in three-quarters of the cheese. Season with 1 tsp. salt and add pepper to taste.
- Add the macaroni to the boiling water and cook until barely al dente, about 2 minutes. Drain well, then immediately add to the cheese sauce. Fold until well mixed, then pour into a 2 1/2-quart casserole and spread in an even layer. Sprinkle the remaining cheese all over the top.
- Bake until bubbling and the top is browned, about 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve hot.