Macaroni and Cheese, Make Ahead

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Pre-Notes

    This macaroni stays creamy, even if made ahead.

Ingredients

    Bread Crumb Mixture

  1. 3-4 slices hearty white sandwich bread, torn into large pieces
  2. 4 T butter, melted, (1/2 stick)
  3. 1/4 c Parmesan cheese, grated
  4. Macaroni and Cheese

  5. salt
  6. 1 lb elbow macaroni
  7. 4 T butter, (1/2 stick)
  8. 5 T flour
  9. 3 (12 oz) cans evaporated milk
  10. 2 t hot sauce
  11. 1/8 t nutmeg, ground
  12. 1 t dry mustard
  13. 1/2 to 1 c reserved macaroni cooking water
  14. 2 c cheddar cheese, grated, (8 oz)
  15. 1 1/4 c American cheese, shredded ( 5 oz)
  16. 3/4 c Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (3 oz)

Instructions

    Bread Crumb Mixture

  1. Pulse bread, melted butter, and Parmesan cheese in food processor until ground to a coarse crumb.
  2. Transfer to bowl, and set aside.
  3. Macaroni and Cheese

  4. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350°F.
  5. Bring 4 qts water to a boil in a large pot. Add 1 T salt and macaroni to boiling water and cook until al dente, about 6 minutes.
  6. Reserve 1/2 c macaroni cooking water (1 c if making ahead), then drain and rinse the macaroni in colander under cold running water. Set aside.
  7. Melt remaining 4T butter in now-empty pot over medium-high heat until foaming.
  8. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture turns light brown, about 1 minute.
  9. Slowly whisk in evaporated milk, hot sauce, nutmeg, mustard, and 2 t salt and cook until mixture begins to simmer and is slightly thickened, about 4 minutes.
  10. Off heat, whisk in cheeses, and 1/2 c reserved pasta water until cheese melts.
  11. Stir in macaroni until completely coated.
  12. Transfer mixture to 9x13 casserole dish and top with bread crumb mixture.
  13. Bake until cheese is bubbling around the edges and top is golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.
  14. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
  15. Make Ahead

  16. The macaroni and cheese can be made in advance, however, increase to 1 c macaroni cooking water.
  17. Transfer to 9x13 casserole baking dish, lay plastic wrap directly on surface of pasta, and refrigerate for up to 1 day.
  18. The bread crumb mixture may be refrigerated in airtight container up to 2 days.
  19. When ready to bake, remove plastic wrap, cover macaroni mixture with foil, and bake for 30 minutes.
  20. Uncover, sprinkle bread crumbs over top, and bake until topping is golden brown, about 20 minutes longer.

Picture of Recipe

Macaroni and Cheese, Make Ahead - Picture of Recipe
Serves: 8 - 10
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Course: Entree,Side Dish,Lunch
Type of Food: Vegetarian,Macaroni and Cheese,Casserole
Key Ingredient: Pasta,Cheese
Difficulty: 2 - Medium
Make Ahead: Yes
Prep Method: Food Processor,Oven Bake
Themes/Holidays: Tailgate,Picnic

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