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Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Jan Gautro, Laura Martin

Give up the box mix because making Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese from scratch is easier than you think. Shredding a block of cheese adds a little more prep time but the smooth and creamy results are worth it. This dish makes for a great side dish that the family will love, or a fun casserole to bring to your next potluck dinner. For more tasty mac and cheese recipes, see our complete Macaroni and Cheese recipe collection.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 7 minutes
Bake time: 20 minutes
Stand time: 10 minutes
Yields: Makes 2 to 3 main-dish or 4 to 6 side-dish servings

Ingredients

1 (8-oz.) package elbow macaroni

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

1 (8-oz.) block sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded and divided

How to Make It

Prepare pasta according to package directions. Keep warm.

Melt butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-low heat; whisk in flour until smooth. Cook, whisking constantly, 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk, and cook, whisking constantly, 5 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in salt, black and red pepper, 1 cup shredded cheese, and cooked pasta.

Spoon pasta mixture into a lightly greased 2-qt. baking dish; top with remaining 1 cup cheese.

Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Note: For testing purposes only, we used Kraft Sharp Cheddar Cheese. To lighten, 2% reduced-fat milk and reduced-fat cheese may be substituted.

One-Pot Macaroni and Cheese: Prepare recipe as directed, stirring all grated Cheddar cheese into thickened milk mixture until melted. Add cooked pasta, and serve immediately. Prep: 10 min., Cook: 7 min.

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