20 Minute Baked Mac & Cheese

20 Minute Baked Mac & Cheese

Is there anything better than gooey, cheesy, delicious oven baked mac n’ cheese?  It is one of my favorite foods but I hardly ever make it because many baked macaroni and cheese recipes take an hour or longer.  I am not that patient. I want the goodness now.

This recipe gives you yummy baked cheesy macaroni in only 20 minutes. I add my cheese to a simple becamel sauce, mix in noodles, load up a large (16oz) ramekin, top with a little shredded cheese and broil it! You get that good oven baked cheese flavor and texture without the wait.

Note: This recipe and the photos have been updated. I have been perfecting it over time and I think this sauce is better than the one I posted in my original recipe!

20 Minute Baked Mac & Cheese

20 Minute Baked Mac & Cheese

I have found that you can use any kind of milk and /or half and half with this recipe, including skim milk! I used skim for the mac in these photos.  The key is to pour the milk in gradually and stir constantly as you are pouring it to prevent it from curdling. I would not recommending using low fat cheese though as it tends to get grainy.

20 Minute Baked Mac & Cheese

Whenever you make a roux with flour, you want to make sure that your mixture comes to a boil so that the flour is well incorporated into the sauce.

20 Minute Baked Mac & Cheese

20 minute Baked Mac n’ Cheese

Serves 2-4
Cook time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4oz macaroni noodles
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup milk (any % fat will work)
  • 3/4 cups half & half
  • 1 cup good quality grated cheese (cheddar, monterey jack, gruyère, havarti)
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions

1. Add salt to water in a medium pot. Boil water and cook macaroni to al dente.
2. Right after you add the noodles to the boiling water, start melting butter in saucepan. Add Flour, paprika and salt and pepper. Stir continuously for about two minutes until a (paste) roux is formed.
3. Add milk gradually, stirring frequently over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Turn down heat to low and continue stirring until the sauce thickens, about 2 minutes, then turn off heat. Add cheese little by little, stirring until melted, until you've used up 3/4ths cup of cheese. Save remaining cheese. Turn off heat.
4. Move an oven rack to second position from the top. Turn on broiler.
5. Drain cooked pasta and add pasta to cheese sauce. Stir to coat noodles.
6. Add noodles to oven safe dish. Top with remaining cheese. Broil dish for 3-5 minutes until cheese melts and starts to bubble.

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