A great Friday night meal….I made this recipe but neglected to take a photo as we were hungry and I was just way too busy getting ready for the plethora of other things I had going on last weekend. For me, photos mean everything when it comes to recipes.  While I’m pretty good at reading a recipe and being able to visualize the end product, there is just something that draws me to a recipe if there is a nice photo that goes along with it.  So, accept my apology for no photo here but know that it was a tasty dish! Looked delic, tasted delic….even for someone who is not a huge mac & cheese fan.

Serve this with a side salad or veggie.  We ate it simply with some peas.

The recipe starts with the following statement, “American cheese gives this classic from Arnold’s its melty consistency.” Arnold’s is a restaurant with rave reviews out of Nashville, TN.  If you’re ever there, well I suppose you should probably check it out.  After all, if a recipe makes it to Bon Appetite….it’s likely to be a great place to eat.

In addition to providing you with this info on Arnold’s I should add that I did not use American cheese.  The thought of American cheese sort of makes my skin crawl.  I don’t like it, I don’t eat it, I had to change it in this recipe.  Now normally I would go for some top shelf, out of this world artisan cheese but I figured since it’s mac & cheese after all, cheddar would have to do.  So I got as local as I could and used the old “cheddar standby” from Tillamook.  Both my husband and I agree that the cheddar was perfect for the recipe.

Southern Mac and Cheese

Source: Bon Appetite Magazine Feb, 2012

Serves 6

8 oz (2c) elbow macaroni

kosher salt

3 tbsp unsalted butter

3 tbsp all-purpose flour

3 c whole milk

3 c coarsely grated American cheese, divided (I used medium cheddar)

3 tbsp finely grated Parmesan

1 1/4 tsp black pepper

1 1/4 tsp mustard powder

1/8 tsp paprika

(I added some whole wheat panko bread crumbs to the top before baking as well….about 3 tbsp)

Preheat oven to 350. Cook macaroni in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until noodles are very tender. Drain; transfer to 3 qt baking dish.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium pot over medium heat.  whisk in flour and cook, whisking, until pale golden, about 2 minutes.  Whisking vigorously and constantly, gradually add milk.  Bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat to low; add 2 1/2 cups American cheese and whisk until melted.  Whisk in Parmesan, Pepper, and mustard powder.  Season with salt.

Pour cheese sauce over noodles in dish; stir to coat.  Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup American cheese over. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake until cheese is browned on top and bubbling around edges, 40-45 minutes.