The Pioneer Woman's Top-Rated Mac and Cheese

This is the perfect macaroni and cheese, and with the extra toppings your friends/family are free to customize however they like.

Photo by cwyorkiex3 w.
Adapted from foodnetwork.com
The perfect mac and cheese.

PREP TIME

15

minutes

TOTAL TIME

55

minutes

SERVINGS

6

servings

PREP TIME

15

minutes

TOTAL TIME

55

minutes

SERVINGS

6

servings

Adapted from foodnetwork.com

Ingredients

  • 4

    cups dried macaroni

  • 1

    whole egg

  • 1/2

    stick (4 tablespoons) butter

  • 1/4

    cup all-purpose flour

  • 2 1/2

    cups whole milk

  • 2

    heaping teaspoons dry mustard

  • 1

    pound sharp cheddar, grated (not pre-grated cheese), plus more for baking

  • Salt

  • Seasoned salt

  • 1/2

    teaspoon ground black pepper

  • cayenne pepper, optional, to taste

  • paprika, optional, to taste

  • thyme, optional, to taste

  • TOPPINGS:

  • 1

    pound thick-cut peppered bacon

  • 3

    yellow onions, halved and sliced

  • 3

    tablespoons butter

  • 8

    ounces gorgonzola

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cook the macaroni until still slightly firm. Drain and set aside. In a small bowl, beat the egg. In a large pot, melt the butter and sprinkle in the flour. Whisk together over medium-low heat. Cook for a couple of minutes, whisking constantly. Don't let it burn. Pour in the milk, add the mustard and whisk until smooth. Cook until very thick, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low. Take 1/4 cup of the sauce and slowly pour it into the beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid cooking the eggs. Whisk together until smooth. Pour the egg into the sauce, whisking constantly. Stir until smooth. Add in the cheese and stir to melt. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt and the pepper. Add any additional spices if desired. Taste the sauce and add more salt and seasoned salt as needed. Be careful not to under-salt. Pour in the drained, cooked macaroni and stir to combine. Serve immediately (while it's still very creamy) or pour into a buttered baking dish, top with extra cheese and bake until bubbly and golden on top, 20 to 25 minutes. TOPPINGS: Fry the bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat until slightly crisp, about 8 minutes. Remove from the pan and cut into bite-size pieces. In a separate pan, cook the onions in the butter over a low heat until caramelized, 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Use a fork to crumble the gorgonzola. Put the bacon, caramelized onions and crumbled gorgonzola into separate bowls. Serve as delicious toppings for macaroni cheese.

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