It only takes three simple steps to make the rich sauce for this melt-in-your-mouth mainstay.
Give up the box mix, making Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese from scratch is easier than you think.
Test Kitchen Tip: It’s best to shred your own block of cheese, especially if using a reduced-fat product. Pre-shredded brands don’t always melt as well or deliver that extra-sharp flavor. You can use a box grater or a food processor with a shredding device.
Preheat oven to 400°. Microwave 2 cups milk at HIGH for 1 1/2 minutes. Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-low heat; whisk in 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour until smooth. Cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute.
Gradually whisk in warm milk, and cook, whisking constantly, 5 minutes or until thickened.
Whisk in 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. black pepper, 1 cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, and, if desired, 1/4 tsp. red pepper until smooth; stir in 1/2 (16-oz.) package elbow macaroni pasta. Spoon pasta mixture into a lightly greased 2-qt. baking dish; top with extra-sharp Cheddar cheese. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until golden and bubbly.