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Creamy Homemade Baked Mac and Cheese

  • Author: Michelle Burns
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


This recipe can be made ahead. Make as directed but do not bake. After it cools, cover tightly with foil and refrigerate up to 1-2 days ahead.  Before baking, let the dish sit on the counter for 30 minutes. Add 5 minutes of baking time.


  • 1/2 pound dried elbow pasta
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
  • 3/8 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream + 3/4 cup half and half or 1 1/4 cup half and half
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about 1 8 oz block) NOTE: DO NOT USE PRESHREDDED CHEESE
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard


  • Preheat the oven to 325 º F.
  • Grease a 1 1/2 quart baking dish (about 5 X 8) and set aside
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil
  • When boiling, add the dried pasta and cook 1 minutes less than the package directs for al dente.
  • Drain and drizzle with a little olive oil to keep from sticking
  • While the water is coming to a boil, shred the cheeses and toss together to mix..
  • Divide the cheese into 3, 1 1/2 cups for the sauce, 3/4 cups for the inner layer, and 3/4 cup for the topping
  • Melt the butter in a large saucepan over Medium heat.
  • Sprinkle in the flour and whisk to combine.
  • The mixture will look like wet sant.
  • Cook for approximately 1 minutes, whisking often
  • Slowly pour in about 3/4 cup of the half and half while shisking constantly, until smooth.
  • Slowly pour in the remain half and half, heavy cream, and whole milk, while whisking constantly until combined and smooth.
  • Continue to heat over medium heat, shisking very often, until thickened to a consistency similar to thinned condensed soup.
  • Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the spices and 1 cup of the cheese.
  • Stir to melt and combine.
  • Add the remaining cheese for the sauce and stir to combine.
  • IN a large mixing bowl, combine the drained pasta with the cheese sauce, stirring to combine ully
  • Pour half of the past mixture into the prepared baking dish
  • Top with 3/4 cup of the shredded cheese.
  • Then top with the remaining pasta mixure.
  • Sprinkle the top with last 3/4 cup fo cheese
  • Bake for 15 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly
  • Set oven to broil on high for 1-2 minutes, until the cheese is beginning to brown.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.



  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes


  • Calories: 665
  • Fat: 41 g
  • Carbohydrates: 43 g
  • Protein: 28 g
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