Babysitter's Mac and Cheese

Hey, it's Doug. My babysitter Ellen doesn't let me play drums after 9 p.m., which I personally don't think is fair. 9 p.m.? Come on! Right? What am I, a child? I am a man. A full-grown man. Even though my drum curfew is . . . absurdly outrageous . . . my babysitter can actually be pretty cool sometimes. Overall, I would say that I like her. She watches TV with me. All of the History Channel shows that Claire won't watch . . . like Car Traders and Appalachian Bandits. And she makes me this macaroni and cheese that is, honestly: so, so, so, so, so, so, so good. So good. So, so good. It's all I ever want to eat for the rest of my life. And I hope I live to be, like two hundred--that's how much of this macaroni and cheese I want to eat.

"The Portlandia Cookbook: Cook Like a Local" by Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein and Jonathan Krisel © Clarkson Potter 2014. Reprinted with permission from Clarkson Potter. All rights reserved.
TOTAL TIME: 1 hr 25 min
Prep: 15 min
Inactive Prep: 15 min
Cook: 55 min
YIELD: 6 servings


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups half-and-half or milk
  • Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound sharp cheddar, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and generously butter a 2-quart shallow baking dish.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. When the foam subsides, add the flour and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.

Add the half-and-half, whisking, and cook over moderate heat until thickened, about 3 minutes.

Add the nutmeg and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add half of the cheddar and half of the Colby-Jack and cook over low heat, stirring, until the cheese is melted. Off the heat, stir in the mustard and paprika.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in salted boiling water until al dente. Drain well, shaking out any excess water. Return the pasta to the pot along with the cheese sauce and the remaining cheese; stir until evenly combined.

Pour the mixture into the prepared dish in an even layer. Sprinkle the Parmesan over the macaroni and bake for 45 minutes, or until bubbling and golden.

Let rest for 15 minutes before serving.


Make ahead: The unbaked mac and cheese can be refrigerated overnight. Return to room temperature before baking.

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