The Sauce: Mac and Cheese Sauce – Mixed in a bowl, not cooked in a saucepan, this sauce is well seasoned, with hot sauce and dry mustard, plus an egg for richness and thickening.
‘Great Sauces Transform Good Food into Gourmet’
My old standby Mac and Cheese has bechamel sauce stirred into whatever kind of short pasta on hand in the pantry. Can’t remember when I baked Macaroni and Cheese. Maybe never. Until now!
I keep thinking the ideal Mac and Cheese recipe is going to come along and that’s when I’ll post. I stopped postponing because I love this quirky version topped with a childhood favorite snack of mine, Cheetos. It makes the top crunchy and extra cheesy. The sauce is a no-cook version that you slosh over the elbows and let the oven turn it into a very cheesy, creamy, comfort dish. It’s seasoned with Lawry’s Seasoned Salt. I grew up on this brand. Feel free to use a seasoned salt you love.
You may also enjoy Campanelle Chicken Alfredo, Spaghetti alla Carbonara,
Recipe: Mac and Cheetos
Active Time: 20 Minutes | Total Time: 50 Minutes | Yield: 6-8 Servings
2 cups dry elbow macaroni
4 Tbsp butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 12-oz can evaporated milk
1/2 cup half & half
1 Tbsp hot sauce, Tabasco or Frank’s
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp seasoned salt, prefer
3 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1 cup crushed, crunchy-style Cheetos
Special Equipment – large bowl, 9×9 or 7×11 baking dish, large bowl
1 Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat a 9×9 or 7×11 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
2 Cook elbow macaroni in a large pot of well salted water until al dente, about 8-10 minutes. Drain and place in baking dish.
3 Meanwhile in the bottom of a large bowl, whisk egg. Whisk in melted butter, evaporated milk, half & half, hot sauce, dry mustard and seasoned salt. Add 2 cups of cheddar cheese. Pour over macaroni and evenly arrange the shredded cheese.
4 Drizzle the remaining cup of cheddar cheese over the top, then cover with Cheetos. Bake at 375 degrees until bubbly, about 25-30 minutes.
Make sure the melted butter is slightly cooled to prevent scrambling the egg.
For more healthy dish, use whole milk rather than half & half. For a richer dish use heavy cream.
Hot sauce and mustard don’t create heat, they add complexity.
You can also top the dish with panko or bread crumbs then a sprinkle of paprika.
- Exchange elbows for special pasta like campanelle, gemelli or pepette.
Inspiration – Helen Horton
Cook with Sauces
Mac and Cheetos
Written by Helen Horton
Recipe Tester for The Washington Post
Photography and Styling by Helen Horton
Updated: May 23, 2014