Well, folks, I think I've finally found it. We made this last night and J. kept going back for more. And I'm not going to tell you how many helpings I had. Like all good home-cooked recipes, it does take a little bit of time to put together but, trust me, it's worth it.
Here we go...
Total Time: About 1 hour 20 minutes (Prep: 45 mins, Cook: 35 mins)
1/2 cup butter or 1/2 cup margarine
1 16-ounce package macaroni, cooked
** I use 1 Cracker Barrel Extra Sharp and 2 Vermont Sharp White Cheddar so that it's more white than yellow. You don't have to use these, but do make sure you use high-quality cheese and not just the pre-shredded stuff
- Put some water on to boil and prepare the macaroni as you would normally.
- While the macaroni is cooking, shred the cheese either by hand or in a food processor.
- In a big skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat.
- Whisk the flour in slowly and continue to whisk until the mixture is smooth.
- Cook and whisk continually for 2 minutes.
- Add in salt, pepper, cayenne, and garlic; stir to combine.
- Gradually whisk in milk and then cream (or milk and half-and-half).
- Cook and whisk continually until mixture is thickened (about 8 to 10 minutes).
- Add in half of the sharp cheddar cheese; stir.
- Add in all of the extra-sharp cheddar cheese; stir until smooth.
- Add in the Velveeta; stir until smooth.
- Add 1/2 of the noodles to the bottom of a greased 9x13 inch casserole dish.
- Add 1/2 of the cheese mixture onto the top of the noodles and mix it all together so that the noodles are completely incorporated into the cheese.
- Add the remainder of the cheese and noodles and repeat. It will look like it won't all fit in the dish, but trust me, it will.
- Sprinkle with the remaining sharp cheddar cheese. (Optional: if you like a crunchy top, consider topping this with some crushed crackers or crispy onions.)
- Bake in a 350° oven for 20 minutes or until the top is slightly browned.
I used rotini noodles because all the folks on the noodle do a better job of capturing all that yummy, cheesy goodness. And fair warning: this makes ALOT of mac and cheese.
If you try it, let me know what you think. And if you "kick it up a notch" by changing the ingredients or adding something, I'd love to hear about it. Hope you enjoy this recipe!
I've shared this recipe with this week's HomeAcre hop and Homestead Barn hop.