Macaroni and Cheese
Macaroni and cheese is one of my favorite dishes. Homemade is obviously amazing, and that’s what we’re making today, but I don’t discriminate. I love the blue box just as much as I did when I was a kid. And don’t get me started on the “liquid gold” box…that was the biggest treat when I was young!
Today we’re stepping up our game a little, though. This homemade macaroni and cheese is full of onions, mushrooms, and FLAVOR. There’s nothing worse than a bland mac and cheese, am I right? Luckily, we don’t have to worry about that. Everything we add in with the cheese – mustard, Worcestershire, soy sauce, hot sauce – all adds some much needed flavor to compliment the cheese.
We’re also not using just any cheese. Remember when I talked about smoked cheese? Yep, we’re using that today. Cabot New York Extra Sharp Cheddar and gouda, both smoked in apple wood please! If you aren’t into smoking your own cheese, feel free to buy smoked cheddar and gouda from the grocery store. The smoke adds a lot of flavor, so you might need to play around with the other ingredients if you’re using cheese that hasn’t been smoked. I used about 8 ounces of cheddar and 8 ounces of gouda.
As with any homemade macaroni and cheese, there are a lot of steps. Don’t let the steps intimidate you! They aren’t difficult, there are just a lot of them. Be patient, stay calm, and know that no homemade macaroni and cheese can ever be too bad…because it’s homemade mac and cheese!
- 1 pound elbow macaroni (or one box...sometimes they're a little less than a pound)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 small to medium onion, diced
- 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup flour
- 3 cups milk, any fat content
- 14-16 ounces cheese - I used half smoked gouda and half smoked sharp cheddar
- ½ teaspoon seasoned salt
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ½ tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- ½ tablespoon soy sauce
- A couple dashes hot sauce, to taste
- Spray a 9x13-inch pan with nonstick spray. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Put on a pot of salted water to boil. When boiling, cook the elbow macaroni according to the instructions on the box. Drain when cooked to al dente.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large pot. Cook the onions and mushrooms over medium heat until they are almost done, then add the garlic.
- Once the onions are translucent and the mushrooms have given off a lot of their moisture, sprinkle on the flour. Stir constantly for a minute or two to cook off the flour taste, then slowly whisk in the milk. Stir constantly until the milk has thickened - around 8-12 minutes.
- Mix in about ¾ of the cheese, Dijon, Worcestershire, soy sauce, seasoned salt, and hot sauce.
- If you've timed things right, the pasta should be done at this point. Always err on the side of the sauce being done before the pasta, if possible, to avoid overdone or stuck-together pasta.
- Pour the elbow macaroni into the cheese sauce and combine. Pour into the prepared 9x13-inch pan, and top with remaining cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes until hot and bubbly. Feel free to broil the top to golden brown if desired - I always do.