Baked Macaroni with Cheese Sauce
My third and, so far, best version of baked macaroni with cheese sauce. Forget the recipe I originally published in 2006 which I have deleted because this version is the real deal.
Servings 6 people
For the cheese sauce
- 1/3 cup butter
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 ¾ cups milk
- 75 grams cream cheese
- 225 grams cheddar shredded
- 1 generous pinch nutmeg
For the meat sauce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/2 cup chopped bell peppers
- 1 generous pinch oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- 200 grams Spanish chorizo (the paprika laden kind is best), cut into small pieces
- 250 grams ground beef
- 1 can diced tomatoes with the juices
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon sugar
Make the cheese sauce
Melt the butter in a pan.
Add the flour, all at once, stirring to make a smooth paste.
Pour in the milk (we do this in increments of three), stirring, to make a thick white sauce.
Add the cream cheese. Cook until melted.
Add the cheddar and stir until smooth.
Season the sauce with salt, pepper and a bit of nutmeg.
Cook the meat sauce
Heat the olive oil in a pan.
Saute the onion, garlic and bell pepper with salt, pepper and oregano.
Add the bay leaf and cook until the vegetables are starting to soften.
Add the chorizo and cook until fat has been rendered.
Throw in the ground beef. Cook, stirring, until no longer pink.
Add the diced tomatoes and tomato paste.
Season with salt, pepper and sugar.
Simmer for 20 minutes or until the liquid has been reduced to about a quarter cup (trust me, you don't want a soupy sauce).
Assemble and bake
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Dump the macaroni into a mixing bowl and add about a cup of the meat sauce. Toss well.
Spread the tossed macaroni in a baking dish.
Spread more meat sauce over the macaroni until covered.
Drop the cheese sauce over the meat and spread evenly.
Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes or until the cheese sauce is lightly browned on top and bubbly along the edges.
Rest before slicing (see notes after the recipe)
Cooling the baked mac a bit allows you to make clean slices. We cool for just ten minutes at which stage the baked mac is not yet solid but still hot.
If you prioritize looks, cool for ten minutes longer.