This time of year, there’s really not much better than a big old bowl of warm, cheesy, delicious Baked Macaroni and Cheese.
Usually when I make macaroni and cheese I like to finish it in the oven in a baking dish, like this:
But this time I thought I’d fancy it up a bit and serve all the cheesy goodness in individual portions!
I wish I could show you the look on the husband’s face when I brought this to him last Sunday. It was a cold and stormy day (which is all we get in Portland this time of year!) and this gooey mac-and-cheese made us feel super cozy.
Cheese shots are the best, right? I like the warm melty parts, but the husband likes the crisped-up outer pieces of baked cheese. We’re a match made in heaven. Just like…. macaroni and cheese. Okay, I may have taken that one a bit far.
But I don’t think I’m taking it too far when I say this is the “best ever” mac-and-cheese. It has the luscious, creamy center with that crisped outer layer and the peppers and jack cheese just give it a real depth of flavor.
It’s also super easy to make, and takes just 45 minutes including the time to boil the noodles and bake it in the oven.
Now, go build yourself a fire and make yourself a bit ol’ batch of this macaroni and cheese!
- 4 cups dried Macaroni noodles
- 1 Red Bell Pepper, finely chopped
- 1 Jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
- 1 Anaheim pepper, finely chopped
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cup whole milk
- 2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 whole egg
- 1/2 pound Cheddar cheese, shredded (plus a little more for topping)
- 1/4 pound Pepperjack cheese, shredded
- 1/4 pound Gruyere or Fontina cheese, shredded
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook macaroni for about 5 minutes. The noodles should still be very firm. Drain and set aside.
- In a medium skillet, saute the bell pepper, jalapeno, Anaheim pepper in one tablespoon of butter until soft. Add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds. Turn off the heat and set aside.
- Return the empty pasta pot to the stove and melt 1/4 cup butter over medium heat. Once hot, sprinkle in the flour and cook for five minutes, whisking constantly. The flour mixture will bubble up and froth in the pan.
- Whisk the whole milk and ground mustard into the flour mixture. Continue cooking and stirring for another five minutes, or until the mixture is very thick. Reduce heat to low.
- Beat one egg in a small bowl. Take 1/4 cup of the sauce and slowly drizzle it into the bowl containing the beaten egg while whisking constantly. This will temper the egg and keep it from scrambling.
- Whisk the egg mixture into the large pot. Add in the grated cheeses, salt, pepper, cayenne, paprika, and nutmeg. Stir well.
- Return the cooked macaroni to the pot and stir. Fold in the sauteed vegetables. Pour it into a buttered 9 x 13 baking dish (or individual dishes) and top with extra grated cheese. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown.