This is the Ultimate Baked Macaroni and Cheese. It's so very creamy and the panko crumb topping add the perfect crunch!
As I am writing this my oldest saw the picture and said, "Oh macaroni and cheese that taste so good!" I'm pretty sure she was hoping I would make Ultimate Baked Macaroni and Cheese again tonight but I am lacking ingredients.
I made this the night of our neighborhood block party, and it receive rave reviews. Now my daughter read she missed the neighborhood block party because she was on a trip and became all bummed, then went on to say "well at least can you make this tomorrow for me?" I think you have the idea of how she feels about Ultimate Macaroni and Cheese!
Here's the recipe:
Cast of characters: 2 1/2 cups dry macaroni cooked in salted water and drained, 3 tablespoons butter, 4 tablespoons flour, 2 teaspoons dijon mustard, 4 cups milk, 1/2 cups sweet onion chopped, 1 large clove garlic minced, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional), 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese grated, 4 ounces medium cheddar cheese grated, topping we have 2 tablespoons butter and 1 cup panko bread crumbs.
Grease a 8" x 11" casserole dish with some butter. Preheat oven to 350 degree's and cook macaroni noodles in boiling salted water until al dente.
Place 3 tablespoons butter and onion in a large saute pan over medium heat.
Cook until nice and golden brown, stirring as needed for even coloring. Press garlic into onion's or chop the garlic fine, if no garlic press available.
Add 4 tablespoons flour and stir to incorporate flour. Watch to make sure flour doesn't burn.
When flour looks like this slowly start to add milk. Now is a good time to switch to a whisk. Also make sure to cook the flour every time you add a little milk as this will work out the lumps. If you did add all the milk at once you will have a lumpy gross mess. So slow is the key!
Add a little more milk and cook and stir until all the milk is absorbed again.
It will look like this. Continue slowly adding milk, until all milk is gone.
Bring to a simmer, add mustard and stir.
Bring to simmer and cook until thickened about 3 minutes. Add pepper and smoked paprika. I did forget the paprika this time even though I had measured it and set it aside, it was a busy day and it was still delicious.
Reserve 1 cup of the mixed cheese and add all the rest to the sauce. Turn heat to low and stir in until melted.
Mm mm.. Cheesy goodness.. What more can I say.
Add all the cooked macaroni and stir well, to cover and fill and the nice holes in the macaroni. Maybe I should have made this for dinner...Yum.
Poor into the casserole dish.
Cover with the remaining cup of cheese. At this point you could throw it in the oven and have a delicious macaroni and cheese but if you add the topping we are going to make next it will be off the hook!
Topping: Mix 2 tablespoon butter and 1 cup panko bread crumbs well.
Spread evenly over the top of the mac and cheese. Place in oven and bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown and bubbly.