Monday, March 1, 2010

PW Macaroni & Cheese

This is my absolute favorite recipe for macaroni and cheese.  It seems like a fairly traditional recipe for mac & cheese, but there are a few sneaky secret ingredients (dry mustard, seasoned salt, and an egg, in fact) that make it absolutely spectacular.  It comes from everyone's favorite blogger, the Pioneer Woman (if you haven't heard of her, you seriously have some catching up to do - she's amazing).   And it is, in a word, amazing.

This is a cheesy, creamy, fantastic dish of deliciousness.  You might want to whip up a little salad to go alongside to alleviate the guilt a bit.  I've tried to make it a little healthier by using whole wheat pasta and skim milk - have to do my part for mankind, and all that.

Use whatever cheeses you like - I've made it with all sharp cheddar before, and it was fantastic.  This time I made it with a combination of medium cheddar and mozzarella, which was also great.

PW Macaroni & Cheese
adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks
serves 4


cooking spray
2 cups dry whole wheat elbow pasta
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose (preferably whole wheat) flour
1 1/4 cups skim milk
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 cups grated cheese (cheddar is pretty much a must)
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper


1.  Preheat oven to 350 and coat a medium-sized baking dish with cooking spray.

2.  Bring a pot of water to a boil and salt it.   Cook the pasta until just barely al dente - it should be a bit too tough to eat - and drain; return to the pot.

3.  While water is coming to a boil, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add flour and whisk constantly for about 5 minutes to cook out the floury taste.  Be careful not to burn.  Add milk and mustard, and whisk until smooth.  Cook for another 5 minutes or until very thick, whisking almost constantly.  Reduce heat to low.

4.  Temper the egg - beat it first in a small bowl, then add about 1/4 cup of the sauce from step three, whisking constantly to avoid cooking the egg.  Add the mixture to the rest of the sauce and whisk until smooth.

5.  Stir in all but 1/2 cup of the cheese(s) to the sauce until melted.  Add seasoned salt and pepper - increase to taste as you see fit.

6.  Pour the sauce into the pot with the drained macaroni and stir to combine.  Top with reserved cheese.  Pour into the prepared baking dish and bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbly and golden on top.  Serve.



  1. I love Ree Drummond. She is my hero. I really wanted to make this but haven't gotten around to it yet. I have made the crash hot potatoes and the pizza. I've bought myself a thermometer so I can at last deep fry things with purpose so Krapfen from Confections of a Master Baker is next!

  2. I have just finished lunch, yet upon laying eyes on the picture and read your recipe I am actually salivating .... honestly! This is such a perfect comfort food it should be at the top of everyone's Favorite Recipe list. Thank you, thank you, to our own Pioneering Woman.