Classic Baked Macaroni And Cheese Perfection

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried elbow pasta
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter
  • 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 c whole milk
  • 2 1/2 c half and half
  • 4 c shredded medium cheddar cheese divided (measured after shredding)
  • 2 c shredded Gruyere cheese divided (measured after shredding)
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika smoked paprika preferred

Instructions

  • Preheat Oven & Prepare Dish: Heat your oven to 325 degrees F (163 degrees C). Grease a 3-quart baking dish. And set aside.
  • Boil Pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the elbow pasta. And cook until just under al dente (about 1 minute less than the package directions). Drain the pasta. And toss it with a bit of olive oil. To prevent sticking.
  • Shred & Mix Cheeses: While the pasta cooks. Shred the cheddar and Gruyere cheeses. Mix them together and divide them into three portions: 3 cups for the sauce, 1.5 cups for layering, and 1.5 cups for the topping.
  • Make Cheese Sauce: In a saucepan. Melt the butter. Over medium heat. Add the flour. And whisk. Until it forms a paste. Gradually add the half and half and milk. Whisking constantly. Until the mixture is smooth. Continue heating. And whisking. Until the sauce thickens. To the consistency of thin cream soup.
  • Combine Cheese and Pasta: Remove the sauce from heat. Stir in the salt, pepper, paprika, and 3 cups of the mixed cheeses. Until melted. And smooth. Combine the cheese sauce. With the drained pasta. In a large bowl, mixing well.
  • Assemble: Pour half of the saucy pasta. Into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with 1.5 cups of cheese. Add the remaining pasta. Then top with the last 1.5 cups of cheese.
  • Bake: Place the dish in the oven. And bake for 15 minutes. Or until the cheese is bubbly. And golden brown on top.

Notes

To whip up a gluten-free version of this scrumptious Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese. Simply swap the traditional elbow pasta. For your favorite gluten-free pasta variety. Make sure it’s a good quality brand. That holds up well. Under baking conditions. For the roux. Replace all-purpose flour. With an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend. That’s designed for baking. These small tweaks. Will let you enjoy. The same creamy, cheesy delight. Without the gluten. Gather your ingredients. And get ready. To savor every bite!
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