CLASSIC ROCK BANDS RECIPE #22
BAKE IT CHEESY
BAKED MACARONI AND CHEESE
It’s about time we got to a recipe at DoinThatRagu.com that the kids can enjoy too. That’s why I’m doing a family sized portion for you this week with plenty of leftovers. If you don’t need that much just divide all the ingredients in half and use a smaller baking dish. But this is not a store bought, processed, do it all on the stove Mac N Cheese meal. This is real pasta with your own cheese sauce that’s easy to do as the late Glenn Frey and The Eagles told you so.
The Eagles are always the first band thought of when somebody mentions “easy listening” music when it comes to Classic Rock N Roll. Ironically, they are also one of the first groups mentioned when it comes to in-fighting within the band. Their history is well documented, and they have given us some of the finest music of the 70’s which is a part of our American culture.
We tend to think of Mac N Cheese as a side dish for fried chicken, ribs, or even burgers. A lot of fast food places will serve it this way. This recipe is to remind everyone it is still a pasta dish. Baking it brings out the better part of the cheese sauce in my opinion. I recommend using an aged Cheddar rather than a generic, factory processed type. I also awaken the flavor a bit with smoked paprika and give you the option to spice it up more with hot pepper. Bread crumbs are the traditional topping and many versions, including this one, use Parmesan cheese to add a bit more flavor to the dish. It’s all about the cheese so take it easy and get baking.
2 lbs. dried Elbow Macaroni
2 TBSP Olive Oil
6 TBSP Butter
6 TBSP all-purpose Flour
3 cups Whole Milk
9 oz. shredded Aged Cheddar Cheese
1 TSP Smoked Paprika
½ TSP Salt plus more to taste
¼ TSP Ground Black Pepper plus more to taste
1/8 TSP Cayenne Powder or a few drops Hot Sauce (optional)
½ cup Plain, dried Breadcrumbs
½ cup grated Parmesan Cheese
2 TBSP finely chopped Italian Parsley
- Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F
- Fill 2 stockpots with 6 quarts of water and cook the pasta separately al dente according to the instructions on the box. Drain the Macaroni and return to a pot. Add the Olive Oil to coat the pasta and keep it from sticking together.
- In a bowl combine the Breadcrumbs, Parmesan, Parsley, Salt and Pepper and mix evenly
- While the pasta cooks make the sauce. In a 3 qt. pot melt the Butter over medium heat.
- When the Butter is melted add the Flour and stir constantly to make a roux. About 2 to 3 minutes.
- Gradually add the Milk and raise the temperature to medium high. Bring to just a simmer and then lower the heat to maintain a tiny simmer. Keep stirring to make sure no lumps form.
- When tiny bubbles start to form add the Cheese, Paprika, Hot Pepper (if using), Salt, and Pepper. Keep stirring to blend. Make sure no lumps are in the sauce and it is well blended. About 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- In a very well-greased large baking pan add the Macaroni and then the Cheese Sauce. Season a bit with Salt and Pepper. Mix together until spread evenly. Top with the Breadcrumb mixture spread evenly over the pasta.
- Bake in the oven for about 25 to 30 minutes until the Parmesan cheese and Bread Crumbs are toasty brown. Let cool 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
WINE PAIRING: My top choice to pair with this dish would be a Dolcetto. This is a Northern Italian red wine that marries well with cheese and pasta. Aged Cheddar may not be the best combination, but it works well especially with the Parmesan. This recipe would also work with white wine or rosé. Dolcetto is a very light red wine that resembles Pinot Noir in many ways. This is of course a recommendation for serving this as a stand-alone dish. If you are serving it as a side, then you must take the main dish and other side dishes as well into consideration.