Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Serves 6-8

INGREDIENTS

½ lb elbow macaroni

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon powdered mustard

3 cups milk

½ cup yellow onion, finely diced

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 large egg

16 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Fresh grated black pepper

Topping

3 tablespoons butter

1 ½ cup panko bread crumbs

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente. While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in flour and mustard and stir for about 3-5 minutes. Make sure it doesn’t have any lumps. Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf. Temper in the egg.* Stir in ¾ of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.

Melt the butter in a sauté pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs and bake for 30 minutes, until lightly browned and bubbly. Remove from the oven and let it rest for five minutes before serving.

*Tempering: Cooking term where you slightly warm the egg mixture, prior to introducing it into the sauce. To temper, you need to add a small amount of the hot sauce mixture into the beaten egg and whisk it rapidly to make sure that the eggs do not solidify. Once the hot sauce is fully incorporated into the egg, you can then add the egg into your saucepan. If you add the egg to the sauce without tempering, your egg will scramble in the hot sauce!

 

Source: Alton Brown – Food Network – Episode EA1E10