Monicaâ€™s Famous Baked Macaroni and Cheese
* 1 box pasta of your choice that is tubular and has ridges (holds sauce better)
* 4 tablespoons butter
* 3 tablespoons flour
* 1 tablespoon ground mustard
* 1 teaspoon paprika
* 2 tablespoons minced onion
* 2 cups half and half
* 2 large eggs
* 8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese (reserve 3 ounces for topping)
* 8 ounces shredded Italian blend cheese (reserve 3 ounces for topping)
* 6 ounces havarti cheese
* Â seasoning salt
* fresh cracked black pepper
* 2 tablespoons butter
* 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large pot of boiling, seasoned water (season your water for pasta always with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, garlic powder, onion powder, and seasoning salt), cook the pasta til still slightly firm.
While the pasta is cooking, chop onion. In a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and seasonings over medium high heat and keep it moving for about five minutes, making sure it is free of lumps - this removes the raw flour flavor. Slowly stir in the half and half. Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Next, temper in the eggs. Stir in cheeses (reserve 2 ounces each of cheddar and Italian blend for topping). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Fold the pasta into the mix and pour into a 13x9x2 casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.
Melt the butter and stir in the panko bread crumbs to coat. Sprinkle the macaroni with the bread crumbs. Bake for 15-20 minutes - just until the top is golden brown and the cheeses have melted -- overbaking may cause eggy texture. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.
NOTE: I usually double this recipe and put it in a lasagna dish (deep dish casserole) -- it is 9x13x3 and holds it fine. This feeds a crowd or you can make 2 13x9x2 dishes and give one away! When giving away, I leave the final bake for the recipient.
Here's a video of me making this! A few changes to the recipe after the video, but this gives you an idea. Now, that's some Southern Love in Your Tummy! Ya'll come back for more yummy recipes from me! Check out my other recipes here.