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According to Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, macaroni and cheese was the only thing that she ate for the first ten years of her life. I have to say that if I was going to pick one food to eat for ten years straight, macaroni and cheese would be a pretty solid contender, especially this version from The Pioneer Woman Cooks.

I whipped up a batch for dinner last night, and it had all of the marks of perfect mac and cheese. The interior was plenty cheesy, creamy, and custardy thanks to the addition of a roux and an egg. The top was golden with just the slightest bit of crunch from the browned noodles. While finishing the sauce I realized that I didn't have any of the mustard powder called for in the recipe, so I summoned a bit of my own pioneering spirit and substituted a few teaspoons of Dijon. The kicky mustard cut right through the cheesy sauce in the most pleasant way and will be a definite addition next time I make this recipe, along with the roasted green chilis and crumbled bacon that Drummond recommends.

Macaroni and Cheese

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About This Recipe

Yield:8 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 cups dry macaroni
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick, or 4 tablespoons) butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 heaping teaspoons dry mustard (or more to taste)
  • 1 pound cheddar or other desired cheese, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt (or more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Procedures

  1. 1

  2. 2

    In a small bowl, beat the egg.

  3. 3

    Preheat the oven to 350°F and butter a large oval or rectangular baking dish.

  4. 4

    In a large pot, melt the butter and sprinkle in the flour.

  5. 5

  6. 6

    Pour in the milk.

  7. 7

    Add the mustard and whisk until smooth. Cook for 5 minutes or until very thick, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to low.

  8. 8

    To temper the eggs, slowly pour in 1/4 cup of the sauce into the beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid cooking the egg. Whisk until smooth.

  9. 9

    Pour the egg mixture into the sauce, whisking until smooth.

  10. 10

    Add in all but 1/2 cup of the cheese and stir until melted.

  11. 11

  12. 12

    Pour in the cooked, drained macaroni and stir to combine.

  13. 13

    Serve immediately or pour into the baking dish and top with the remaining cheese.

  14. 14

    Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until bubbly and golden on top.

  15. 15

    Serve to hungry humans.

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