The ultimate classic Baked Mac and Cheese, with an insane cheesy sauce and topped with an irresistible golden, buttery breadcrumb topping. Prepare yourself for the heart-stopping moment in the recipe video when I pull this bubbling beauty out of the oven…..and the stretchy cheese shot!
“Mac and Cheese should always have a crunchy top!” she declared, as explanation for why she wouldn’t be trying my Stove-Top Mac and Cheese.
I grinned, and retorted “Geez, you can never please everyone!!!” Then promised that I’d share a crunchy topped Mac and Cheese as soon as an “acceptable” period of time had passed!
These kind of conversations are how many of the recipes land on this site. I’ll be asked for a recipe by a friend or more often nowadays, while out exercising Dozer at the end of the day. While throwing dog toys into the water, I’ll blast out instructions for how to make a Seafood Marinara Pasta or a Chicken Risotto.
And so to the lady who declared that Mac and Cheese must always have a crunchy top – here is my Baked Macaroni and Cheese, with plenty of crunchy topping!!!
MAC AND CHEESE: the ultimate comfort food!
I don’t want to be morbid, but if I had to choose a Last Meal, this Baked Mac and Cheese may possibly be it. I know, I know, it’s not very Japanese or Aussie of me to say that. I should probably say sushi or sausage rolls or roast lamb.
Put me in a room with Mac and Cheese, and neither of us stand a chance. Said Mac and Cheese would be ravaged.
And of all the Mac and Cheeses in the world, this is my very favourite.
ABOUT THIS MACARONI AND CHEESE
This is not an insanely fully loaded Mac and Cheese. I know you’ll see some with many types of cheeses and made really rich with cream. Topped with bacon, with lobster and crab.
This is not one of those versions. But if you want a buttery, cheesy, creamy Macaroni and Cheese with perfectly cooked macaroni, plenty of sauce and a crunchy buttery top, this is a Mac and Cheese for you. ❤
WHY YOU NEED THIS MAC AND CHEESE IN YOUR LIFE
There are a couple of things in this recipe that are a bit different to other Macaroni and Cheese recipes. Firstly, being of Asian background, I have a huge hang up about soggy, overcooked rice. And this snobbery extends to pasta.
So what I do is toss the cooked macaroni in butter so it’s coated lightly, just enough to help stop it from absorbing more liquid as it bakes, resulting in bloated overcooked pasta. I also cool the macaroni down before mixing with the sauce for this same reason (hot pasta absorbs liquid far more easily).
And secondly, I am pretty sure the amount of sauce I make is more than most recipes. Simply because I don’t like Mac and Cheese where there’s basically no sauce left once it comes out of the oven.
I need that cheesy sauce. If I’m going to blow my calorie count with this Baked Mac and Cheese, give me cheesy sauce worth blowing it on! – Nagi xx
BAKED MAC AND CHEESE RECIPE
WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT
Baked Mac and Cheese recipe video! Don’t miss the ending when it comes out of the oven….
Baked Mac and Cheese
- 250 g / 8 oz macaroni (elbow pasta)
- 1 tbsp / 15 g unsalted butter (or 2 tsp oil)
- 2/3 cup / 40g panko breadcrumbs (Note 1)
- 2 tbsp / 30 g unsalted butter
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 60 g / 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup / 50g flour , plain / all purpose
- 3 cups / 750 ml milk , warmed (low or full fat)
- 2 cups / 200g shredded cheese (favourite is gruyere, next is cheddar and Colby) (Note 2)
- 1 cup / 100g shredded mozzarella cheese , or more other cheese of choice (Note 2)
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp mustard powder
- Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add macaroni and cook per packet directions MINUS 1 minute.
- Drain, return pasta to pot, add butter and toss until melted. Set aside to cool while making the Sauce (Optional - Note 3).
- Mix together Topping. Set aside.
Sauce (video is helpful):
- Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
- In a large saucepan or in an ovenproof skillet (I use my 26cm/9" Lodge cast iron skillet), melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
- Add about 1 cup of the milk and mix to dissolve the paste into the milk. Then add remaining milk and mix until lump free (use whisk if required).
- Mix in salt and Seasonings if using.
- Cook, stirring/whisking regularly, for 5 - 8 minutes until thickened to a cream consistency. When the Sauce coats the back of a wooden spoon, you should be able to draw a path with your finger.
- Remove from stove, add cheese and stir - cheese doesn't need to melt.
- Adjust salt to taste.
- Pour Sauce into pot with Macaroni. Stir quickly, then pour back into the skillet (I did this) or a baking dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumb topping.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until top is light golden. Don't bake too long otherwise you'll bake away the Sauce!
- Serve immediately! I sprinkled mine with a bit of fresh parsley.
LIFE OF DOZER
When Dozer went camping: Are we there yet, are we there yet??