When I run long distances, I like to carb load the night before, which means pasta dishes! Granted, this easy macaroni and cheese recipe is far from healthy, but I thought I would share how to make this homemade treat.
There’s a little more to this than the boxed stuff, but the extra prep and cooking time is worth it. Be forewarned: The amount listed below will feed an army, and you may want to cut everything in half if you don’t have a large crowd.
Party size servings: 15-20
Time: 30 to 45 minutes cooking time
Prep: 30 minutes
- 1 lb of cellentani pasta
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 eggs
- 5 cups of milk
- 6 tablespoons of flour
- 2 tablespoons of powdered mustard
- 1 lb of shredded sharp cheddar
- Pinch of sea salt
- Pinch of black pepper
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 7 strips of bacon
Note: I like to add 1/2 of a medium sized onion in the cheese sauce, but I forgot to during this recipe — despite having an onion in the above picture. Oh well, let’s get started.
Preheat oven to a temperature of 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cook the bacon using your desired method — whether in the oven, microwave, or skillet. After it’s done, crumble into small pieces. Set aside.
Cook your cellentani pasta in a large pot of lightly salted water on the stovetop. Pasta should be cooked to al dente. Drain and rinse.
Note: I use the helical shaped macaroni because I like how it absorbs the cheese topping. However, elbows would work just as well.
While the cellentani is boiling, start preparing the cheesy goodness.
In a different pot, melt the butter. After it is melted, whisk in the powdered mustard and flour. Keep whisking for 5 minutes or so and make sure all lumps are gone.
Add the milk, paprika, and bay leaf, along with some black pepper. Let this simmer for about 10 minutes.
Remove the bay leaf from the mixture and temper in your eggs. I add in 3/4 of the shredded sharp chedder and season with a little pepper.
Start folding the cellentani and bacon into the cheese sauce. Then, pour your mixture into a pan. (I used a disposable tin roaster pan, which was 11 3/4 inches x 9 1/4 inches x 2 1/2 inches, for easy cleanup and storage.) Top the dish off with the remaining cheese. Set aside while and get the panko topping ready.
Bread crumb topping
The panko topping contains the panko and a little butter. Melt a little butter in a pan and add the panko bread crumbs. Saute them. When you are happy with the outcome, spoon the bread crumbs over the top of the macaroni.
Bake it at 350 degrees F for 30 to 45 minutes. After it’s done, let is sit for about 10-15 minutes before serving.
Enjoy this baked macaroni and cheese topped with breadcrumbs recipe.