This is my friend Camille’s famous macaroni and cheese recipe. It’s the same recipe her mom makes, and I remember loving this macaroni and cheese when I was a young teenager. I still love it after all these years.
It’s a very classic American macaroni and cheese, and even utilizes American cheese. Camille stresses that the best (and only) way to make this is with Land o’Lakes American cheese, and that it just isn’t the same with any other cheese. I’ve actually never made this myself (I just ask Camille to make it for me, ha!), so all the measurements and notes below are from her.
She bakes her’s covered, and then uncovers it toward the end to brown. I typically bake my macaroni and cheese uncovered, but feel free to try it out either way.
Thanks Camille for allowing me to share your fabulous baked macaroni and cheese recipe!
*Update 7/23/19* I recently made this recipe myself (prior to this I had simply shared Camille’s recipe) and it turned out perfect! This is seriously the creamiest and cheesiest macaroni and cheese. Definitely one of my all-time favorites. I’m sharing a couple new photos below from when I recently made it as a side dish for smoked ribs. I made a half recipe since it was a side dish and not a main dish, and it was still fabulous. It just baked a little shorter than the full recipe would (30 minutes covered, 15 minutes uncovered).
Camille’s Macaroni and Cheese
Makes 6 to 8 servings
1 pound short pasta, such as cavatappi or elbows (Camille prefers Barilla cavatappi/cellantani)
2 ounces (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 pounds Land o’Lakes American cheese, shredded (it has to be Land o’Lakes–we’ve tried it with other cheeses and it just isn’t the same)
1/2 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons melted butter
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large pot and add the onions. Saute until the onions are softened, and then add in the flour, stirring constantly.
When the flour mixture starts to bubble, slowly stir in the milk, salt, and pepper. Keep stirring over medium-high heat, and once the milk has warmed up a bit (it should be warm to the touch but not anywhere close to boiling) add in the shredded American cheese.
Stir until creamy. You shouldn’t see any strings of cheese left in the mixture. Lower the heat and continue stirring constantly, or else it will stick to the bottom of the pan.
When the pasta water comes to a boil, salt it and add the pasta, cooking until almost al dente. Do not overcook the pasta because it will get mushy once it bakes. Remove the cheese mixture from the heat, and then strain the pasta in a colander.
Add the strained pasta to the cheese mixture and combine until well mixed. Pour the pasta and cheese sauce into a greased 13-by-9-inch baking dish.
Combine the crushed crackers and melted butter in a mixing bowl and then sprinkle over the top of the macaroni and cheese.
Bake covered for about 45 minutes. Uncover, then bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes until the crumb topping is golden brown and the edges are bubbly.
Let the macaroni and cheese cool for at least 10 to 15 minutes before serving to allow it to set.