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Author Notes: Macaroni and cheese is easy to find but hard to perfect. My quest began with Kraft Macaroni and Cheese with the rest of my student team on Fridays during my third year surgery rotation (we looked forward to it all week, which tells you something about the hospital cafeteria). Now my favorite mac and cheese comes from the City Bakery. My favorite recipe comes from David Page and Barbara Shinn's Home Cookbook, with slight tweaks. It's grown up tasting and my vegetarian main dish for my niece Vanessa on Thanksgiving. —luvcookbooks
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 4 cups milk
- 1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, grated
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 2 cups sharp Cheddar, grated
- 1 pound small pasta shape, cooked and drained
- sweet or hot smoked paprika
- 1/2 cup homemade bread crumbs
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Melt butter, add onions and garlic and cook until soft over low heat. Stir in flour little by little and cook, stirring constantly, until a pale toast brown, takes several minutes. Whisk in milk, little by little, keeping the mixture smooth. Stir in paprika, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the sauce is thickened. Can take 5-10 minutes, keep heat adjusted so that the bottom does not stick or scorch.
- Stir in the cheese until melted.
- Stir in the cooked pasta.
- Butter a 9 x 12 baking dish and pour the mac and cheese into the baking dish. Dust the macaroni and cheese with the smoked paprika and cover with bread crumbs.
- Bake until mac and cheese is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Enjoy!
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe with Noodles
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Open House Dish
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Baked Pasta