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Baked Macaroni and Cheese


1/2 pound elbow macaroni (used small shell pasta)
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon powdered mustard
3 cups milk (used half whole milk & half skim)
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
*1 clove garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 large egg
12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded (used 8 oz. Vermont Sharp Cheddar & 4 oz. Parmigiano Reggiano)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
*4 slices of bacon cooked, sliced in strips
Fresh black pepper
*2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
*4 slices Hot Capicola (cooked for 1-2 mins. to drain the fat)


3 tablespoons butter
1 cup panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it’s free of lumps. Stir in the milk, onion, garlic, bay leaf, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf.

*Temper in the egg. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Add bacon. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.

Adult Version: Add cayenne pepper then top with hot capicola.

Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.
*My son has been asking me to make Mac and Cheese, since  I never grew up eating Mac and Cheese I have no idea how to make it. I found a very simple recipe by Alton Brown. Alton Brown never fails me, it’s a home run for my husband and the kids. I made two versions for the kids and for the adults. I added bacon for both but for the adult version I added 2 tbsp. cayenne pepper then top with hot capicola then cheese and panko toppings. enJOY!!!

Temper-to gently heat egg/egg yolks before adding to a hot sauce by adding a small bit of the sauce and beating well. This technique prevents curdling.

Examples: The chocolate is tempered before coating the candies to remain firm at room temperature. OR Temper the egg yolks before adding to the hot sauce by stirring a bit of the hot sauce into them. Beat well, then add the warmed egg yolks to the sauce and continue cooking.

Source: Food Network About.com