The name macaroni and cheese does not do this recipe justice. I am going to go out on a limb and say that it is the absolute best macaroni and cheese recipe I have ever had. It is unbelievably creamy, freezes well, tastes amazing as leftovers and doesn’t cost nearly as much as my previous attempt at macaroni and cheese.
I don’t know what I can say to adequately describe to you the true creaminess and deliciousness that this recipe has. If you have ever liked macaroni and cheese and have ever thought about trying a new recipe for it, this is the one to try. If you have never made anything besides the stuff in a box, TRY THIS ONE. The hardest part is grating all the cheese and making a roux.
Personally, I don’t want the bread crumb topping on my macaroni and cheese so if you want to leave it off, feel free. If you look at the recipe and see the hot sauce and nutmeg and think, hell no, do reconsider. Somehow it works and you just taste the creamiest macaroni and cheese you have ever had. The evaporated milk adds a thick richness to this even though you can use fat free. It also prevents any curdling that may happen with regular milk.
The original recipe is HUGE. I cut it in half and had 6-8 servings from it. Perhaps Cook’s Country was eating this as a main course and not a side?
I implore you – MAKE THIS. Freeze lots. EAT LOTS! Enjoy.
Classic Macaroni and Cheese by Cook’s Country
3–4 slices hearty white sandwich bread , torn into large pieces
8 tablespoons unsalted butter , 4 tablespoons melted
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound elbow macaroni
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 (12-ounce) cans evaporated milk
2 teaspoons hot sauce
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/4 cups shredded American cheese , (about 5 ounces)
3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Pulse bread, melted butter, and Parmesan in food processor until ground to coarse crumb. Transfer to bowl.
2. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and macaroni to boiling water and cook until al dente, about 6 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup macaroni cooking water, then drain and rinse macaroni in colander under cold running water. Set aside.
3. Melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter in now-empty pot over medium-high heat until foaming. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture turns light brown, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in evaporated milk, hot sauce, nutmeg, mustard, and 2 teaspoons salt and cook until mixture begins to simmer and is slightly thickened, about 4 minutes. Off heat, whisk in cheeses and 1/2 cup reserved pasta water until cheese melts. Stir in macaroni until completely coated.
4. Transfer mixture to 13 by 9-inch baking dish and top with bread crumb mixture. Bake until cheese is bubbling around edges and top is golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
Make Ahead: The macaroni and cheese can be made in advance through step 3; since the pasta continues to absorb moisture, adjustments must be made to avoid a dry filling. To do so, increase amount of reserved pasta cooking water to 1 cup. Pour filling into 13 by 9-inch baking dish, lay plastic wrap directly on surface of pasta, and refrigerate for up to 1 day. The bread crumb mixture may be refrigerated in airtight container up to 2 days. When ready to bake, remove plastic wrap, cover macaroni mixture with foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle bread crumbs over top, and bake until topping is golden brown, about 20 minutes longer.