BBQ meats and macaroni and cheese go together like peanut butter and jelly, so after all this time, I am excited to share my very own macaroni and cheese recipe. Recipe disclaimer: I have adapted the below recipe from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food Mac & Cheese recipe. Rich and I have made mac and cheese from scratch a number of times, and not only does this recipe taste the best, but I have also found it the easiest and most full proof. That being said, we have our own cheesy flavor preferences, and I do a little something special in the end to give it an extra umpf. [See Related: Dannon® Oikos® Greek Nonfat Yogurt Macaroni & Cheese]
If you like different cheeses others that melt and work great include Munster, Pepper Jack or Mozzarella. To make this dish a little more BBQ-y you can make the dish outside on the grill – we have tried and it works great!
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 1 pound elbow pasta
- 4 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
- 4 cups milk
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper, (optional)
- 1¼ cups shredded yellow cheddar cheese (5 ounces)
- 1¼ cups velveta cheese, cubed
- 8 ounces ham, diced into ½-inch pieces (optional, i also like turkey bacon)
- 2 slices white sandwich bread
- 1 cup fried onions
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente; drain and reserve. Meanwhile, in a 5-quart heavy pot, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and in a slow steady stream, whisk in milk until there are no lumps. Start your turkey bacon on the grill – don’t over cook, put aside to drain the fat.
- Cook, whisking often, until mixture is thick and bubbly and coats the back of a wooden spoon, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in cayenne, if using, and 1 cup each yellow and white cheddar cheese. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
- Toss pasta with cheese mixture; fold in ham or bacon. Transfer to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or individual dishes. Set aside.
- In a food processor, pulse bread and fried onions until large crumbs form. Toss together with remaining ¼ cup each cheese (shredded), and ¼ teaspoon salt. Top pasta with breadcrumb mixture. Bake until top is golden, about 30 minutes.