Baby Joe turned three last week (maybe you heard?), and when L asked him what he wanted for his birthday dinner, he said “macaroni and cheese!” This baked macaroni and cheese turned out perfectly and will definitely make an appearance again.

The Glitter Life Mac and Cheese

Baked Macaroni and Cheese by Alton Brown

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon powdered mustard (don’t have any on hand? no big deal. just leave it out.)
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 large egg
  • 12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh black pepper
  • Topping:
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs

Directions

  • 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, bay leaf, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf.
  • Temper in the egg. (Don’t know how to do that? Learn how here.) Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.
  • 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.

This was DELICIOUS and can totally be made ahead. Just cover, refrigerate and bake when ready. Add a few extra minutes of baking time if it comes out of the refrigerator. Read more here.