Stella’s Macaroni and Cheese

This may be the comfort food of all comfort foods.  Macaroni and cheese.

So rich, cheesy, warm, filling, and… American.

Here’s my standard recipe for slightly dressed-up but still approachable, baked mac and cheese.  Handle it carefully.

1 lb macaroni
6 Tbsp butter
5 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
6 cups whole milk
1 cup sour cream
1 yellow onion, very finely diced
1 tsp paprika, with extra set aside for dusting
~12 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
~6 oz. pecorino romano cheese, grated*
~1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
2 tsp salt
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large stock pot, bring lightly salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and cook until al dente, approximately 8 minutes. Meanwhile, grease a large casserole dish (or two!) with butter and set aside.

2. Next, melt four tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour and stir for constantly until it begins to thicken and is free of lumps, about two minutes. Stir in mustard, milk, sour cream, onion, paprika, salt, and pepper, and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally, then add 3/4 of the cheese to the skillet.

3. Drain macaroni and return it to the pot. Pour the cheesy sauce mixture over the macaroni and stir thoroughly until the pasta is evenly coated. Fold mixture into casserole dish and top with the remaining cheese. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on the top and place the dish in the oven. Bake for approximately 30 minutes. If you’d like your macaroni a little crispier, broil briefly at the end until nicely browned (about three minutes).

4. After carefully removing the dish from the oven, garnish the dish with paprika and serve immediately.

*I also threw in a little grated horseradish cheddar, which I couldn’t resist at Wheatsville!

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