When we were dating, I remember when Jonathan said, “Audrey, if you ever made a gourmet macaroni and cheese for me, I would fall even more in love with you.” I think my response back then was, “K. Or… you could just make it yourself and love me more anyway!”
But my ole heart got to thumpin’ one day recently, and I decided to make him the most creamy, silky, decadent batch of cheesy noodles he’d ever tasted.
What You Need
((Remember that this isn’t exact and is more like an outline that’s meant to encourage your creativity…. I’m helping you embrace your inner chef!))
- Cheeses of your choice.
Tip: I was going for a mild cheese combo, so I used medium cheddar, Swiss, provolone, some random, soft white cheese from Central Market, and a little bit of crumbled blue cheese. If you want a deeper more potent flavor, go with a combination of cheeses like Parmesan, Asiago, Romano, Gruyere, sharp white cheddar, etc., but mix them in with milder cheeses too.
- 1 box elbow macaroni
Tip: Get the kind with ridges because they hold onto the cheese better!
- 1 white or yellow onion
- Salt and pepper
- Garlic powder
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1 cup flour
What You Do
- Cook and drain your pasta.
Tip: Remember to add salt to the pot while the pasta is cooking.
- Dice the onion, sauté it in butter, then transfer it to a large pot.
Tip: I skipped a step and kept the onions in the skillet while making roux. Probably not Emeril-approved, but it worked great for me!
- In the same skillet (unwashed after cooking onions), make a blonde roux:
A. Melt a stick of butter.
B. When the butter is bubbly, add flour to it.
C. Whisk it, A LOT, over medium heat until a thick paste forms. Keep whisking it until it’s smoother and thinner. Whisk whisk whisk it over the heat for like 5-10 minutes. You want it to turn just slightly blonde colored.
Tip: If you don’t whisk it enough over the heat, your whole dish will be grainy.
- Transfer the roux to the large pot with the onions.
- Add milk, and whisk it all together.
- Over medium heat, slowly add the cheeses and stir them in with a spoon.
- Add salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder to taste.
- Add the pasta to the large pot.
- Chop the parsley.
Tip: I usually always hand-chop fresh herbs, but parsley is a more resilient one that can really take some processing without losing its integrity!
- Prepare the breadcrumbs.
Tip: You can just buy store-bought if you want, but I put some French bread in the food processor and then toasted the crumbs in a skillet. I added a tad of dry Ranch seasoning to the breadcrumbs for an extra pop of flavor on top.
- Distribute the macaroni and cheese to serving dish(es).
- Cover it with breadcrumbs and chopped parsley.
Tip: I prefer un-baked mac and cheese because it doesn’t dry out. If you like yours a little less saucy, bake it!
BTW. Macaroni and cheese pizza … to die for! You can throw some on a tortilla with some alfredo sauce and bake it, but if you happen to have some leftover cheese pizza (with alfredo sauce instead of marinara), jazz it up with some of this magical macaroni and pop it in the oven. Best. Idea. Ever.