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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Old Fashioned Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Mmm..Baked Macaroni is sure to please even the most picky eaters and is truly comfort food in every sense of the word!  My friend and mentor Brownie, who was a wonderful chef and teacher, used to make the most mouth-watering macaroni and cheese that no one else could duplicate.  She always told me the secret ingredient was dry mustard and including it in this dish gave it the mystery flavor that will make everyone ask, "What is that flavor?"

We kicked this up a bit by adding the Pepper Jack cheese and panko crumbs on top and the flavors together are fantastic with just a little bit of crunch from the panko.  I think Brownie would like this Baked Macaroni almost as much as her own. 
Cheers Brownie, we miss you.

12 oz  Dry Elbow Macaroni
6 TB  Butter
6 TB  Flour
1 1/2 tsp  Dry Mustard
1 tsp  Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp  Black Pepper
1/4 tsp  White Pepper
1 1/2 cups  Milk
1 1/2 cups  Half and Half
3 cups  Shredded Medium Cheddar Cheese
1 cup  Shredded Pepper Jack Cheese
1 cup  Panko Crumbs
Olive Oil Spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cook macaroni according to package directions and cook until just al dente then drain.  Butter a 13" x 9" baking dish and pour the drained pasta into the dish.  Set aside.

In a large saucepan melt the butter over medium-low heat, then add the flour, dry mustard, salt and pepper.  Use a whisk to combine, then slowly add the milk and half and half, adding only about a 1/2 cup at a time, whisking constantly until all of the milk is added. 

Increase heat to medium-high and heat until mixture just slightly boils.  Begin adding the shredded cheese about 1/2 cup at a time, whisking until melted then adding another 1/2 cup.  When all of the cheese is fully melted, pour the sauce over the macaroni.  Sprinkle with the Pepper Jack cheese, then top with the panko crumbs.

Bake for 20-30 minutes until the top is golden brown and the edges are just a bit crispy.  Serve with Southern Baked Cornflake Chicken DrumsticksEnjoy!!

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