Baked Macaroni and cheese is a popular comfort food in the Caribbean. It is usually made on Sundays and during the holidays when everyone comes together. It is basically classic macaroni and cheese, just baked a little longer so it is less creamy. You can literally slice into this casserole, hence the connotation to pie. Every family probably has their own recipe for baked mac and cheese and adds a variety of ingredients to personalize it for their family. My mother used to top our macaroni casserole with slices of bell pepper for decor but also for flavor. There are people who add meat or seafood to their pie. It is typically made with elbow macaroni but people use ziti, penne, shells, or orecchiette pastas to make this dish. The end product can be anything you wish.
How to cook
This cheesy dish is baked until golden. My recipe has mustard, onions, nutmeg and is more on the savory side. There is a sweeter version of this dish that can be made with evaporated milk and sugar. Feel free to customize this however you like with herbs, different cheeses, spices or heat.
For Baked Macaroni and Cheese, you will need:
- Medium Saucepan
- Large pasta pot
- Wooden spoon
- Serving dish (ovenware)
- This is a half recipe. Double ingredients for a larger family sized serving.
- 1/2 of 1lb box of elbow macaroni
- 1/2 tablespoon salt (for boiling macaroni)
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 1.5 tablespoons of flour
- 2 cups of whole milk
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 of an onion
- 2 tbsp mustard
- 1 cup aged cheddar
- 1.5 cups mild cheddar
- 1 cup mozzarella
- Cracked pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- In a large pasta pot, bring water and salt to a boil.
- Add in elbow macaroni (or choice of pasta) and cook until al dente. The pasta will continue to cook in the oven so do not overcook the pasta or allow it to get too soft.
- Drain pasta in a colander and set aside.
- In a small saucepan, make a roux by mixing flour and butter together over medium low heat. Allow roux to cook for about 1 minute.
- Add in milk to the roux mixture and stir. Allow milk to cook until it slightly thickens, about 2 minutes.
- Add in nutmeg, mustard and grated onion to the milk mixture. Whisk well.
- Add in cheese and stir with a wooden spoon. Keep stirring until the cheese melts.
- Once the cheese is melted, add cooked macaroni and cracked pepper. Use the wooden spoon to combine macaroni and cheese mixture. Be sure to coat all of the pasta in the cheese sauce.
- Pour cheesy pasta into an ungreased oven ready dish. Use the spoon to make sure the macaroni is leveled and even in the pan.
- Liberally sprinkle the top of the casserole with more shredded cheese.
- Bake on 400 for 15-20 mins. Keep checking and pull out just as the cheese on top melts and the cheese begins to get bubbly and golden brown.
Music Credit: Bae by Jeff Kale