CLASSIC SOUTHERN MAC AND CHEESE — With two kinds of cheese, crispy bacon, and a crunchy breadcrumb topping, this class macaroni and cheese recipe is the ultimate comfort food.
When it comes to comfort food, you really can’t go wrong with a Classic Southern Mac and Cheese. Whether you’re serving it as a main dish or a side, this is a recipe everyone should have in their collection!
Of course, there are a million ways to make macaroni and cheese, but this version is one I always go back to. That’s why it’s a classic.
With a cheesy made from scratch sauce, you may never eat macaroni and cheese from a box again.
It starts, of course, with traditional elbow macaroni, but you can certainly substitute a similar pasta, like ditalini. Shells are another great option, and a favorite with kids.
After all, bacon makes everything better!
Of course, you can always sub regular cheddar for the white cheddar. I just love the way the dish looks with the white cheddar–somehow it seems even more creamy.
For something a little different, you could even used smoked white cheddar.
In the spirit of true Southern cooking, this recipe is made in a cast iron skillet. But if you don’t have one, you can mix it up on the stove top in any large saute pan and then transfer it to baking dish to finish cooking.
Whatever you do, don’t forget the breadcrumb topping. I also like to finish my mac and cheese off with a sprinkling of fresh parsley, for some extra color.
It goes without saying that this is a meal my whole family loves. It does feed a crowd, but no one at my house ever complains about leftover macaroni and cheese.
Be sure to save this Classic Southern Mac and Cheese recipe to your favorite Pinterest board for later.
Tips for Cooking Pasta
Use a big pot: Cook pasta in a large pot–big enough to hold 6 quarts of water per pound of pasta.
Salt: Generously season your cooking water with salt. A few teaspoons per quart of water is a good place to start. Although a little more or less is fine, depending on your preference.
Don’t overcook: Boil your pasta to until it is al dente, which means it’s cooked, but still a bit chewy. You’ll want to test your pasta for flavor and texture every 20 seconds or so during the last few minutes of cooking.
If you’ll continue cooking the pasta in a sauce, or baking it in the oven, remove the pot from the heat a few minutes before it’s done to prevent overcooking.
Here’s what you’ll need to make Classic Southern Mac and Cheese
- Produce: onion, parsley
- Chicken broth
- White cheddar cheese
- Gouda cheese
- Spices: cayenne pepper, nutmeg, salt and pepper
- Panko breadcrumbs
- 1 (16 oz.) package elbow macaroni
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup minced onion
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 3-3 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 4 1/2 cups shredded sharp white Cheddar cheese, divided
- 2 1/2 cups shredded Gouda cheese, divided
- 6-8 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
- 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley plus more for garnish
- 1 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook macaroni according to package directions. Rinse with cool water and drain.
- Meanwhile, in a 12-inch cast iron skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook until tender, 3-5 minutes. Stir in flour. Cook and stir a few minutes more.
- Whisk in 3 cups milk and chicken broth, stirring frequently, until mixture begins to thicken. Add additional milk, if needed to reach desired consistency.
- Stir in 4 cups of the white cheddar cheese, 1 3/4 cups Gouda, cooked bacon, mustard, parsley, salt, pepper, cayenne, and nutmeg, stirring until cheese melts. Stir in cooked macaroni.
- Top with remaining cheeses and breadcrumbs. Bake, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes or until browned and bubbly. Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 572 Total Fat: 40g Saturated Fat: 22g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 14g Cholesterol: 121mg Sodium: 1034mg Carbohydrates: 25g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 12g Protein: 28g
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Who Dished It Up First: Adapted from Taste of the South