Macaroni and Cheese

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  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2-1/2 cups milk
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 jalapenos, minced
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon hot hungarian paprika
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup Greek-style yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • 3 cups coarsely grated/shredded cheeses (sharp cheddar, parmesan)
  • 1/2 pound dry macaroni
  • Optional: tomato slices
  • Optional: minced scallions
  • 1 cup panko-style breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.

Melt 1/2 a stick of butter over a medium heat. Once the butter is getting warm, but before it starts to brown, add in the flour and start whisking for a couple minutes (until it starts to smell toasty). Whisk in the milk, pouring evenly, until it is absorbed. Add in the onion and jalapeno. Add in the bay leaf, and keep whisking slowly until the sauce is thick -- about 10-15 minutes. Add paprika, mustard, salt, and pepper to taste, removing the bay leaf. Remove from heat.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the yogurt and the egg yolks. Whisk in just a little of the warm butter-flour-milk gravy. Whisk in just a little more. Repeat, until the yogurt mixture is tempered to close to the same temperature as the butter-flour-milk gravy, and then whisk the yogurt-yolk mixture into the bechamel.

Add in two cups of cheese, a handful at a time, stirring the whole while.

Meanwhile, prepare the macaroni according to the instructions on the package. Rinse in cold water.

Combine macaroni with cheese sauce, in a casserole dish. Place a layer of tomato slices and/or scallions on top.

Melt the remaining half-stick of butter in a small pan, over medium heat. Toast the bread crumbs in the butter. Combine the bread crumbs with the remaining cup of cheese, and sprinkle over the casserole dish.

Cook for 30-40 minutes. Remove from over and let stand for 10 minutes. Serve.

Serves: 4 people

Preparation time: 90 minutes