- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add macaroni and 2 ½ teaspoons salt and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 to 6 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Shred Cheddar cheese by hand or in a food processor; set aside.
- Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook, whisking constantly, until smooth, 3 to 4 minutes. Whisk in mustard powder, then 3 ½ cups milk. Whisk occasionally until mixture comes to a simmer, then let simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add cream cheese and cook, stirring often, until thick, creamy, and smooth, about 5 minutes. Add remaining 1 ½ teaspoon salt, pepper, and cayenne.
- Stir in 2 cups shredded Cheddar. Turn off the heat and let cheese melt. Stir in cooked macaroni. Add up to ¼ cup milk if you feel like the mixture is too thick.
- Layer ½ of the pasta mixture in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Top with 1 ½ cups Cheddar. Spread remaining pasta mixture over top and sprinkle with remaining Cheddar.
- Bake in the preheated oven until golden and bubbly, 25 to 30 minutes.
Creamiest Mac and Cheese.Allrecipes
Cook’s Notes:Cavatappi and shell pasta are good substitutes for elbow macaroni. Whatever pasta you use, cook it for about 2 minutes less than the box recommends.Purchase block Cheddar and shred it by hand or in your food processor, instead of using pre-shredded. It has better flavor, melts easier, and is also a better value—from two 8-ounce blocks, you get at least 5 cups shredded Cheddar, as compared to the 4 cups you’d get in two 8-ounce packages of shredded Cheddar.
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