THE BEST MAC AND CHEESE I’VE EVER HAD

Greetings from somewhere along the coast of Alaska. I am composing this post about the best Mac and Cheese I’ve ever had from my Aft Facing Sky Suite onboard the Celebrity ship, Solstice.

On Board Celebrity Solstice in Alaska | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

If you caught my recent post regarding my husband’s birthday bash

HOW TO HOST A BIRTHDAY BBQ BASH TO IMPRESS | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

you will recall that I gave him a cruise to Alaska for his birthday. He had all of 5 days to wrap his head around the fact that in less than a week he’d be on a cruise. So off we went and here we are.

HOW TO HOST A BIRTHDAY BBQ BASH TO IMPRESS | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

However, before I get too far ahead of myself telling you all about our trip, I wanted to keep my promise to give you the recipe for the best mac and cheese I’ve ever had!

THE BEST MAC AND CHEESE I'VE EVER HAD | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

It’s the Southern-Style Macaroni and Cheese that I served at my husband’s birthday party, and it really is very, very good. I got the recipe from Saveur Magazine who adapted their recipe from one that had been published in The Gift of Southern Cooking, (Knopf 2003) by southern culinary legends Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock. However, it is rare that I ever follow a recipe as originally written, so I too have adapted it to conform to my liking, and like it I do. I think you will too!

THE BEST MAC AND CHEESE I'VE EVER HAD | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

What makes this recipe particularly unique are several things. First, it is not made by preparing a roux, a white sauce to which cheese is added, which is the typical method. Instead, the ingredients are simply mixed together and the thickening happens naturally in the baking process. That’s because it also includes 2 eggs which help the sauce to come together. Additionally, the recipe calls for a grated onion, and this to me is what really sets the flavor apart from other mac & cheese recipes I prepare. But the most astounding thing is that the macaroni is only par-cooked a mere 3 minutes before it’s added to the cheese sauce. It too does the rest of the cooking in the oven, absorbing all the tasty liquids and moisture from the sauce instead of from a boiling pot of water. All things considered, this is a terrific recipe if you like mac and cheese, and who doesn’t like mac and cheese??

THE BEST MAC AND CHEESE I'VE EVER HAD | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

So, here’s how you make it…

  • Heat your oven to 350 degrees.
  • Using butter, grease a 9″ x 13″ baking dish.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
  • Add 1 pound elbow macaroni and cook 3 minutes, NO MORE!

THE BEST MAC AND CHEESE I'VE EVER HAD | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

  • Drain pasta and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  • Stir in 2 cups of cubed, extra-sharp cheddar cheese and set aside.
THE BEST MAC AND CHEESE I'VE EVER HAD | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comTHE BEST MAC AND CHEESE I'VE EVER HAD | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com
  • In a separate large mixing bowl whisk to combine 2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. coarse ground pepper, 2 Tbsp. flour, 1 1/2 tsp dry mustard and 1/8th tsp. cayenne.

THE BEST MAC AND CHEESE I'VE EVER HAD | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

  • Add 2/3 cup sour cream and 2 beaten eggs and whisk until smooth.
THE BEST MAC AND CHEESE I'VE EVER HAD | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comTHE BEST MAC AND CHEESE I'VE EVER HAD | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com
  • Whisk in 2 cups half-and-half, 1 cup heavy cream, 1 grated onion, 3 minced garlic cloves and 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce.

THE BEST MAC AND CHEESE I'VE EVER HAD | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

  • Pour the creamy mixture over the reserved pasta mixture and stir to combine.

THE BEST MAC AND CHEESE I'VE EVER HAD | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

  • Pour into the greased baking dish.
  • Sprinkle 2 cups grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese evenly over the pasta.

THE BEST MAC AND CHEESE I'VE EVER HAD | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

  • Bake at 350º for about 30 minutes until set.
  • Cool for 10 minutes before serving.
  • Enjoy the ooey, gooey goodness of it all!

THE BEST MAC AND CHEESE I'VE EVER HAD | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Here’s the printable recipe…

THE BEST MAC AND CHEESE I'VE EVER HAD
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
I adapted this wonderful recipe from one found at Saveur, Jan. 2011. This super creamy and cheesy recipe is made even better with the addition of a grated onion. Plus, it's an easy preparation that does not involve the traditional making of a white sauce.
Author:
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: Southern
Serves: 8 to 10 servings
Ingredients
  • Butter, for Pan Greasing
  • 1 Lb. Elbow Macaroni
  • 8 Oz. Extra-Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Cut Into ½" Cubes (About 2 Cups)
  • 2 Tsp. Kosher Salt
  • ½ Tsp Freshly Ground Coarse Black Pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. Plus 1 Tsp. Flour
  • 1½ Tsp. Dry Mustard
  • ⅛ Tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • ⅔ Cup Sour Cream
  • 2 Eggs, Beaten
  • 2 Cups Half-and-Half
  • 1 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 Small Onion, Grated
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, Very Finely Minced or Pressed
  • 1 Tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 Cups Grated Extra-Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Using butter, grease a 9" x 13" baking dish.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
  4. Add pasta and cook 3 minutes. Drain pasta and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  5. Stir in the "cubed" cheese and set aside.
  6. In a separate large mixing bowl whisk to combine the salt, pepper, flour, mustard and cayenne.
  7. Add the sour cream and eggs and whisk until smooth.
  8. Whisk in the half-and-half, heavy cream, onions, garlic and Worcestershire sauce.
  9. Pour the creamy mixture over the reserved pasta mixture and stir to combine.
  10. Pour into the greased baking dish.
  11. Sprinkle the "grated" cheese evenly over the pasta.
  12. Bake 30 minutes until set.
  13. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.
  14. Enjoy!

Please stay tuned and in my next post we’ll go traveling to Alaska!

So there you have it: THE BEST MAC AND CHEESE I’VE EVER HAD

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All opinions expressed in this post are my own. Unless otherwise credited, all photos are the original property of Celia Becker @ www.AfterOrangeCounty.com and may not be reproduced without specific permission. 

Comments

  • I absolutely love mac and cheese. I have a similar recipe but this one sounds like it’s even more flavorful with the grated onion. I’m giving this a try as soon as the current heat wave leaves us! 🙂
    Karen

  • Who doesn’t love a good M&C. I am printing this and telling Mr. B that we must try this. I’m getting hungry…

    Have fun on your cruise. Please pass along birthday greetings to the Mr.

  • Thank you, I will pass along your good wishes. I hope you enjoy this recipe. Do let me know how it turns out!

  • I know what you mean about baking in an oven when it’s baking hot outside. But, as Mac & Cheese goes, this recipe is a real keeper and worth the heat! Enjoy!

  • This mac and cheese definitely looks delicious!!!

  • Holly

    Oh the grandness of comfort Food…have a great cruise!

  • Yes, this is indeed “comfort food” at its best! Thank you!

  • It truly is. I hope you’ll try it and let me know how you liked it! Thanks for stopping by Sophie.