Sunday Special: Grandma’s Creamy Baked Macaroni ‘n’ Cheese

.  Okay, this isn’t my Grandma’s recipe.

Neither is it my typical healthy Sunday recipe post [that I seemingly forgot about as of late….].
But guess what?  It just makes it sound better, more nostalgic.  So we’re keeping it.

As you may know, Robbie was in Omaha for almost all of February.  Yes, seriously.  What a joke, huh?  Stupid job.
But as the weeks wound down and it was finally time for the fiancé to return back to Chi-beria, a home-cooked meal seemed like the ticket.
See, in Robbie’s line of work, what they call ‘busy season’ goes on every year from about January to April/May.  And busy seasons entails days, weeks, and months of never-ending work.  As in, those poor accounting soldiers spend every waking minute of their day at the office.  From about 8 AM to 12/1:00 AM.  E’ry day.  Except Sundays…

Which means that they have take-out.  A lot.  
And I’m all for take-out.  But I’m sure you can agree that sometimes it just gets old after…29-too  many meals.
So prior to his arrival on a late Friday night a couple of weeks back, I decided Robbie needed a comfort-food greeting.  And while I keep telling myself Robbie was glad to be back home to see me, I could see his eyes light up at the sight of the surprise mac ‘n’ cheese sitting on the stove.  Dang it.

But this dish is comfort-food-Paula Deen-esque to a ‘T’.  A casserole of chewy elbow macaroni covered in creamy, cheesy goodness.  Then finished with a toasted layer of bread crumbs adding that ever-so-perfect crunch.
Crunchy topping.  Rich, gooey, cheesy sauce.  Chewy al dente macaroni.  
Please tell me what could be better?  .

My Notes:
  • I [still] don’t know exactly what Vermont cheddar is, so I went for the regular ol’ cheddar cheese.  But use whichever type you like best or can at least find!
  • The original recipe used individual servings in ramekins but I opted for the casserole style.  But if you want to serve this decadent dish as a side, the ramekins are absolutely perfect! 

Adapted from Simply So Good

Ingredients:
scant 8 oz. uncooked elbow macaroni
3 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. all purpose flour
2-1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. salt
Pinch of nutmeg
Black pepper (to taste)
2 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese or aged Vermont cheddar cheese
1 c. bread crumbs
Directions:
  1. Follow package directions to cook macaroni in pot of boiling water.  Drain, rinse with cold water, and place macaroni into a large bowl; set aside.  Butter the bottom and sides of a 13×9-inch baking dish; set aside.
  2. Heat oven to 350ºF.  In a medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat.  Add flour and whisk until smooth.  Add heavy whipping cream and whisk until sauce thickens (this takes several minutes).  Add salt, nutmeg, and pepper, and continue whisking until combined.  Remove from heat and stir in cheese.  Whisk until smooth and most of cheese is melted.
  3. Pour cheese mixture over macaroni and stir until completely covered.  Pour the macaroni ‘n’ cheese into prepared baking dish.
  4. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and mix with bread crumbs in a small bowl.  Evenly sprinkle bread crumbs over top of macaroni ‘n’ cheese.
  5. Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until edges are bubbling and bread crumbs are golden brown.  Remove from oven and serve.
Yield: 12 servings

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