Who does not like macaroni and cheese?! In VINCENT COUNTRY, you will not find one. We are fans and are extremely particular about the preparation. There are many ways to prepare this soul-stirring comfort dish, and for us baked is the only way to go. Macaroni and cheese baked is considered a casserole. For special occasions and any occasion, for that matter, it is a staple side dish on our menu. No one ever says, “Macaroni and cheese again.” To the contrary, “Oooo macaroni and cheese!” 😃
Baked Macaroni & Cheese
2 pounds elbow macaroni, cooked al dente
3 tablespoons butter—for roux
4 tablespoons flour—for roux
1 quart half and half
2 cups Colby Jack cheese, shredded
7 cups Sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded
8 ounces Cream cheese, cubed
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
paprika for garnish
3-quart rectangle casserole dish
preheat oven 350°F
Step 1: In a sauce pan add butter and flour on medium-high heat. Whisk until smooth. Gradually pour in the half and half. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium. Add Colby Jack, cream cheese, salt and pepper. Whisk until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.
Step 2: In a large bowl add macaroni, Gruyere, and 3 ½ cups of Sharp Cheddar. Combine ingredients until evenly distributed. In a separate bowl whisk eggs and pour into the bowl with macaroni and cheese. Combine until completely distributed throughout.
Step 3: Add ¼ cup of the cheese sauce into the macaroni and cheese mixture, and mix well. This small edition will help temper the sauce into the macaroni and cheese so you do not end up with scrambled eggs. Slowly pour remaining cheese sauce while mixing, until completely mixed in.
Step 4: Pour ingredients into casserole dish. Layer top with remaining Sharp Cheddar and sprinkle top with paprika. Spray a sheet of aluminum foil with cooking spray and loosely place the sprayed side of foil on top of macaroni and cheese. This will keep the cheese from sticking to the top of the foil. Bake for 15 minutes covered. Remove foil and bake an additional 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let macaroni and cheese cool for 15 minutes prior to serving.