Custardy Baked Mac and Cheese with Olive Oil Bread Crumb Topping
- Prep Time 0:30
- Cook Time 0:30
- 11 Comments
I strongly dislike being told what to do…which is probably why I’ve made a career of inventing my own recipes, rather than following others.
That said, there is one man whose recipes I will always happily follow: Alton Brown. In short, he is a no-frills, food science-based, culinary genius. His recipes are straightforward and easy to comprehend, yet reliably yield wonderful results.
So, when I found myself looking ahead at a week involving nonstop running around and next-to-zero time to eat, let alone cook, today seemed like an excellent time to experiment with Baked Macaroni and Cheese Recipe recipe—a fun rainy day project, yielding food for the week.
Brown’s recipe calls for the addition of an egg, which results in a mac that is creamy, cohesive enough to be cut into and served in squares, making it perfect make-ahead food.
However, it’s so delicious, I will be lucky if enough remains to get me through Monday.
- 8 oz. elbow macaroni $1.50 for 14 oz.
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter $1 for a stick
- 3 tbsp all-purpose flour Pantry
- 2 1/2 cups whole or low-fat milk (don’t use skim) $2.50 for a quart
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped $0.50 for a whole onion
- 1/2 tsp paprika $1.50 for 1 oz.
- 1 egg, lightly beaten $1.50 for 12
- 1 1/2 cups sharp shredded cheddar (yellow or white) $3.50 for 8 oz.
- 1 tsp each salt and black pepper Pantry
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil Pantry
- 1 cup bread crumbs $2 for 10 oz.
Total Cost of Ingredients $13
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter or oil a 2-quart casserole dish.
Cook macaroni according to package directions in salted boiling water. Drain and return to pot.
Melt butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Whisk in flour to form a sticky dough and continue whisking for 4-5 minutes.
Slowly whisk in the milk, little by little, to form a creamy white sauce. Add the onion and paprika, stir well, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Scoop out 1/8 cup of the sauce and whisk it quickly into the egg to temper it. Add another 1/8 cup, continuing to whisk, to avoid scrambling the egg. Slowly whisk the egg-sauce mixture into the pot of sauce.
Stir in 1 cup of the cheese and whisk until melted. Stir in salt and pepper and remove from heat.
Fold the sauce into the cooked macaroni and press into the prepared baking dish. Top with the remaining cheese.
Heat the olive oil in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the bread crumbs and cook, just until golden-brown and crisp, about 2 minutes. Let cool slightly, then sprinkle over the macaroni and cheese.
Bake for 30 minutes, until set and golden-brown on top. Let rest for about 5 minutes before cutting into and serving.