America's Favorite Comfort Food
Macaroni and cheese recipes sure to mac you hungry!
There are few things more comforting and delicious than a big bowl of homemade macaroni and cheese. Good news mac and cheese lovers, National Macaroni and Cheese Day is approaching quickly. Cheesy, gooey, hearty and creamy, America’s favorite comfort food has its very own holiday, celebrated on July 14. Whether you’re a fan of classic Macaroni and Cheese or prefer it loaded with lobster, bacon, or veggies—there is a cheesy variation for any taste.
The exact origins of Macaroni and Cheese are unknown, but the first known Macaroni and Cheese recipe is thought to have been written in Liber de Coquina, an Italian cookbook from the 13th century. This cookbook included a recipe called de lasanis which was comprised of sheets of cooked lasagna noodles cut into small squares and tossed with grated cheese.
We can thank Thomas Jefferson for bringing this classic comfort food to the United States. While visiting Italy, Jefferson became enchanted by the Italian’s cheesy pasta dishes. Upon his return, he brought recipes and pasta machines with him, as pasta was unknown in America at the time. He began serving Macaroni and Cheese at his presidential events, and soon enough the love for the cheesy combo spread around the country.
During the Great Depression, Kraft boxed Mac and Cheese was introduced. The selling point was that one box could feed a family of four for just 19 cents. The absolute best way to celebrate National Mac and Cheese day is cooking up your version of a perfectly gooey, golden and cheesy pot of Macaroni and Cheese. Keep reading to discover recipes
so you can properly honor this delicious holiday.
Truffle Mac and Cheese
Image and recipe by The View From Great Island.
"Truffle Mac and Cheese ~ a luxurious baked pasta with plenty of rich creamy sauce and an earthy flavor and aroma thanks to truffled cheese, truffle oil, and a dash of truffle salt."
- 1/2 pound pasta cooked just to al dente
- 2-3 cremini mushrooms stems trimmed, and finely diced
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 2 Tbsp flour
- 1 and 1/2 cups milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half
- 1/2 cup evaporated milk this helps keep the sauce creamy
- 2 tsp truffle oil
- 3/4 tsp truffle salt or to taste
- 8 ounces truffled soft goat cheese
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
For the crumb topping:
- 3 Tbsp bread crumbs
- truffle oil
- truffle salt
- fresh cracked black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 325F Lightly butter a gratin or other baking dish.
2. In a dry saucepan sauté the chopped mushrooms, stirring almost constantly, until they lose their moisture and start to turn dark. Add the butter and flour and cook for a minute or two, but don't let it brown.
3. Slowly add in the milk, cream, and evaporated milk, stirring to blend. Turn the heat up a bit and cook the mixture, stirring constantly, until it just comes to a simmer and thickens. Don't let it come to a boil.
4. Take off the heat, add the truffle oil and salt, and let it cool for a minute.
5. Add the cheeses and stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. Fold in the cooked pasta and turn into your prepared pan.
6. Moisten the breadcrumbs with truffle oil and add a pinch of truffle salt. I also add some fresh cracked pepper. Sprinkle the crumbs over the pasta.
7. Cook the mac and cheese for about 20 minutes, or until bubbling. If you'd like a little more browning, run it under the broiler briefly, but watch it very carefully so it doesn't burn.
8. Serve the mac and cheese immediately.
Southern Baked Mac and Cheese
Image and recipe by Immaculate Bites.
"Southern Baked Mac and Cheese – super creamy, cheesy, soulful baked mac and cheese filled with great Southern flavors. You will never break open a box again!"
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 12oz canned evaporated milk
- 1 cup half and half ( 1/2 cup cream and 1/2 cup milk)
- ½ -1 tablespoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- ½ -1 teaspoon creole seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ cup mozzarella cheese , grated
- ½ cup sharp cheddar cheese , grated
- ½ cup jack cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 8 ounce uncooked Macaroni
1. Cook macaroni according to the package directions. Drain.
2. Add butter to skillet, as soon as butter melts whisk in flour. Continue whisking until flour is fully mixed with butter. Then cook for about a minute to get rid of the flour taste.
3. Slowly add evaporated milk a little at the time, followed by the half and half ; you do not want the mixture to form any lumps. Simmer for about 3-5 minutes until mixture thickens slightly.
4. Add seasonings, onion and garlic powder, creole seasoning and cayenne pepper.
5. Bring to a simmer and let it simmer gently for about 2 minutes.
6. Stir in the cheeses (reserve some as toppings later), and continue stirring until everything’s melted and evenly combined and, smooth. Salt & pepper, to taste.
7. Then add the cooked pasta to the pot, stir to evenly incorporate.
8. Transfer the pasta mixture into a the pan or into a lightly greased 2-qt. baking dish; top with remaining cheese.
9. Bake at 375 Degrees F for 20 minutes or until golden and bubbly.
Lobster Mac and Cheese
Image and recipe by Simply Scratch.
"Lobster Mac and Cheese is rich, decadent and oh so cheesy! Cooked jumbo shell/elbow pasta, lobster are tossed in creamy white cheese sauce. Baked with a parmesan crumb topping. Serves 6 to 8 in under an hour."
- olive oil spray
- sea salt
- 10 ounces dried pasta
- 1-1/2 cups sharp white cheddar
- 1 cup grated fontina
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 cups half & half
- 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated)
- 10 ounces chopped cooked lobster
-1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons unsalted melted butter
- minced parsley, for serving
1. Spray a 2 quart baking dish with olive oil spray and preheat your oven to 325°.
2. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Once boiling, stir in a palmful of sea salt before adding in the pasta. Cook the pasta to al dente. Try to aim for the sauce and pasta to be done at the same time.
3. In a bowl, combine the white cheddar, fontina and 1/2 cup parmesan. Stir to combine.
4. Meanwhile, melt butter in a saucepan over medium to medium-low heat. Once melted, whisk in the flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and pour in the half & half and whisk until thickened to the consistency of a creamy soup.
5. Remove off of the heat and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg, stir to incorporate.
6. Add 1/3 of the cheeses and stir until smooth.
7. Next add in drained cooked pasta and chopped lobster, stir to combine.
8. Spoon half of the mac and cheese to the prepared baking dish and top with half of the remaining cheeses. Repeat with the remaining mac and cheese and top with the last of the cheese.
9. In a small mixing bowl, combine the panko, 1/4 cup parmesan and 2 tablespoons melted butter, stir to combine and sprinkle over top of the pasta.
10. Bake on the middle rack of your preheated oven for 10 minutes. If needed, switch the broiler on and broil the top of the crumbs are until golden brown.
11. Serve with a sprinkle of minced parsley.
French Onion Mac and Cheese
Image and recipe by Hungry Couple.
"Such a perfect blend of flavors with the creamy pasta and those heavenly onions. Really. I'm obsessed with them and now obsessed with this dish. Enjoy!"
- 2 Large sweet Vidalia onions
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1/2 Cup beef stock (canned or homemade)
- 3/4 Cup milk
- 1 Teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 6 oz. Gruyere cheese, divided
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 lb. Elbow macaroni
1. Peel and thinly slice the onions. Add them to a cast iron pan along with the olive oil and one tablespoon of butter. Cook on medium low heat, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes. Add the Worcestershire sauce and continue cooking for an additional 5 - 10 minutes, until the onions are a deep golden brown but not burned. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon.
2. Add the additional tablespoon of butter to the pan along with the flour and whisk until thoroughly combined. Slowly whisk in the beef broth and milk and continue cooking and whisking until the mixture thickens. Add the thyme and 2 oz. of the Gruyere cheese. Season to taste.
3. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees while you cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and stir into the cheese sauce. Fold in the caramelized onions and pour the mixture into four individual crocks. Sprinkle the remaining cheese equally on each dish and bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and slightly browned.
Bacon Pimento Mac and Cheese
Image and recipe by Southern Cast Iron.
"Two cheesy classics collide in this hearty stovetop treat. Look no further for comfort food perfection."
- 1 (16-ounce) box elbow macaroni
- 4 cups chopped fresh collard greens (about 3½ ounces)
- 10 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¾ cup chopped green onion
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2½ cups whole milk, room temperature
- 1 (12-ounce) container pimiento cheese
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 (4-ounce) jar diced pimientos, drained
- Garnish: pimientos, smoked paprika
1. In a large enameled cast-iron Dutch oven, cook pasta to al dente according to package directions, adding collard greens during the last 1 to 2 minutes. Drain.
2. Meanwhile, in a 12-inch enamel-coated cast-iron braiser, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon using a slotted spoon, and let drain on paper towels, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings in pan.
3. Melt butter with drippings in pan. Add green onion and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle in flour; cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk until combined; bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
4. Cook until thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat; gradually stir in pimiento cheese until melted and smooth. Stir in hot sauce, salt, mustard, and paprika.
Stir pasta, collard greens, two-thirds of bacon, and pimientos into cheese sauce until well combined; top with remaining bacon. Garnish with pimientos and paprika, if desired. Serve immediately.