Macaroni and cheese is exactly what every dinner needs. This side dish is the definition of comfort food. Made with three cheeses this macaroni and cheese is sure to be a hit with everyone.
Who can say no to mac and cheese? I know I cannot. This is one of my favorite side dishes of all time. All of that cheesy goodness is just too good to pass up. Throughout the years I have been changing up my recipe and I have found this one right here is my favorite.
In this recipe
Macaroni is a pasta that is formed in narrow tubes with but blunt ends. It can also be curved which is normally referred to as elbow macaroni that most people know and love. Macaroni has also been used to encompass most pastas with holes in the middle. This is why you will see all kinds of pastas used for macaroni and cheese.
Giving the pasta some flavor
The secret weapon in making this dish is the use of chicken stock. Many people will just season the water with salt but the chicken stock adds so much more flavor to the macaroni. By doing this one little trick you will have all of your friends and family asking how you made this dish so well. When making this recipe if you need additional water to cover all of the pasta it is ok to add more water. It is always good to buy an additional carton of chicken broth if you aren’t using your own depending on the size of your pot.
Shred it yourself
This is a personal preference of mine but I will shred my own cheese versus buying it pre-shredded. This is mainly due to the addition of cellulose to the cheese as an anti-caking agent. While we consume cellulose in ever plant we eat it isn’t normally found in cheese. One of the reasons for tis is that it changes how the cheese melts. The cellulose keeps the cheese from creating that lovely pull, stretch, that is part of a good melting cheese.
What is melting cheese?
A melting cheese is one that when heating does not break. This is what causes a pull, that delicious stretch, when the cheese is heated and separated from the whole. Kinda like that wonderful stretch when you remove the first slice of hot pizza from the pie. Here are some great melting cheeses that are perfect for this recipe and to let you make it your own.
- Aged Cheddar
- Monterey Jack
Making baked macaroni and cheese
Depending on how you like your macaroni and cheese will be how you choose to bake it. If you are like me and like the crispy top without adding breadcrumbs then cook it without covering it with foil. For some extra crispiness turn on the broiler for the last 3 minutes and broil the top. If you want the top to be more gooey then cover then cover the macaroni and cheese in foil. This will also give the top more stretch and help prevent the cream sauce from setting.
Looking for other pasta dishes?
Baked Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
- Food processor or cheese grater
- Large bowl
- 9 x 13 baking dish
- Large pot
- 1½ lbs macaroni
- 2 cups cheddar cheese shredded
- 2 cups gruyere cheese shredded
- 2 cups gouda shredded, not smoked
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 4 tbsp butter unsalted
- ½ tbsp kosher salt
- ½ tbsp white pepper ground
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup milk
- Preheat the oven to 350°F or gas mark 4.
- If using block cheese use a food processor with the grating attachment or cheese grater to shred the cheeses.
- In a large pot bring the chicken broth to a boil and add the pasta. Cook according to the directions but a minute less than the time to reach al dente. The pasta will finish cooking in the oven. Strain the pasta.
- While the broth is heating up and boiling in another saucepan add the milk, cream, butter, salt, and pepper together and heat until the milk is warm. Add the gouda and gruyere and stir until the cheese has melted.
- Pour the pasta into a large bowl and add the cheese mixture. Stir in half of the cheddar.
- Pour into the 9x13 baking dish and top with the remaining cheddar. Bake for 30 minutes.