I have a habit of always adding powdered mustard to my cheese sauces because it gives them a great sharp tang. PW doesn't fail me here and I love her for it. Also, I have never been a fan of a breaded mac and cheese. I don't think the bread crumbs add anything in the way of flavor and they certainly take away from the velvety texture of this dish. Instead, I prefer the crispy, melted cheese topped variety. In short, this hits all the right notes for me. Try it and I'm sure you'll agree.
Pioneer Woman's Baked Macaroni 'N Cheese
(Recipe from Pioneer Woman Cooks)
4 cups uncooked macaroni
4 tbsp. butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups whole milk
2 tsp. dry mustard
1 egg, beaten
1 lb. cheese, grated (I used all cheddar, but I’m sure a combination would be great too)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/2-1 tsp. ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cook macaroni according to package directions until slightly firm. Drain and set aside.
In a large pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour and cook the mixture for five minutes, whisking constantly and being careful not to burn. Add the milk to the pot, stir in the dry mustard, and whisk until smooth. Cook the mixture for five minutes until very thick. Reduce the heat to low.
Add the beaten egg to a small bowl. Take 1/4 cup of the warm sauce and slowly pour it into the beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid scrambling the egg. Whisk until smooth. Pour the tempered egg mixture back into the sauce, whisking constantly. Stir until smooth. Mix in the cheese, reserving a handful for topping, and stir until completely melted. Add in salt and other seasonings. Taste and adjust seasonings accordingly. Add the drained cooked macaroni to the pot and mix well.
Pour the mixture into a baking dish, top with reserved cheese, and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden and bubbly on top.