Homemade Mac and CheesePhoto Credit : Heath Robbins
There are loads of ways to make macaroni and cheese, and we make no judgment if you find yourself reaching for a box with a silver packet of dried dairy to satisfy your need more or less instantly. We will say, however–again without judgment–that this homemade Mac and Cheese recipe is easy and far more satisfying. The onion and cayenne add another layer of flavor and keep this dish from becoming a heavy, gloppy mound of melted cheese (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
1 pound elbow macaroni
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
1 medium onion, finely diced
6 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
3 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
6 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese
6 ounces grated fontina or Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup ricotta cheese
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups unseasoned bread crumbs (preferably panko-style)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook macaroni about 2 minutes less than package instructions indicate, so that it still has a slight crunch to it. Drain and set aside.
Butter a 9×13-inch casserole pan. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt 6 tablespoons butter and cook onion gently until softened, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low. Whisk in flour and cayenne to form a thick paste. Cook, whisking continuously, about 2 minutes.
Whisk in milk until smooth, and cook, whisking occasion-ally, until thickened and bubbly. Whisk in heavy cream. Whisk in cheeses. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add cooked macaroni and stir well to coat.
Pour into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake 20 minutes or until top is lightly browned. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.