When you want the very best mac and cheese, why not go the Alton Brown's choice as the best comfort food Mac and Cheese in the country. While not much more work and you can have this classic comfort food at home.
Cook 1 pound of pasta according to box instructions with 2 tablespoons sea salt. Drain and set aside.
In a heavy saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat, then add one small chopped onion and one bay leaf. Cook until onion is soft and getting transparent. About 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaf.
Slowly add 2 tablespoons flour to onion for about 1 minute while stirring continuously.
Now slowly add 1 1/2 cups whole milk while stirring continuously to avoid lumps. Now add 1/4 cup of heavy cream in the same manner. Simmer for 2-3 minutes until thickening.
Reduce heat to medium. Now add 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon sea salt, and one pound of excellent cheddar cheese. Stir well and continue to simmer (only a few bubbles) for about 5 minutes. Mix in the pasta and stir to combine will.
Now add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a large pan and heat over high heat until oil is starting to smoke. Add pasta and cheese mixture and stir until about 15-20% is dark brown. Do not stir continuously; give it a few minutes to brown between stirs and be sure to use a metal spatula to scrape the bottom during stirs.
Use the best ingredient you can get. This is not the time for cheap cheese.
This is not a low-fat recipe, use whole milk, heavy cream, and real butter, please.
The key points about the frying:
Use a large skill, so you have a large hot surface area.
Get the pan and the oil very hot before adding the mac and cheese. Don't be shy; get it hot.
Pay attention not to burn, but don't stir continuously. Give the dish a few minutes to brown between stirs. Be sure to use a metal spatula to scrape the bottom during stirs.
Get at least 15-20% of the dish browned to your liking. I suggest very brown.
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