I am known for my mac and cheese. You could say I put the smack in mac and cheese. Once people try my version, they can’t seem to go back. I bring it to potlucks and always come home with an empty dish. I feed it to guests, they leave with the recipe. Kids love it, adults love it, teenagers love it, even my grandparents love it. It is the most basic macaroni and cheese recipe out there, but it has one special ingredient that makes it shine: Frank’s Hot Sauce. People are always skeptical that it will be too spicy for them or their kids. As written, the recipe isn’t spicy at all. I have never even had a single child complain about heat. They gobble it up. The hot sauce simply adds a level of flavor. If you want it to be spicy, I suggest going all the way up to 1/4 cup of Frank’s. Let me tell you, that hot sauce holds a special place in our family. Our pantry isn’t complete with out it.
- 1 box uncooked macaroni (1 lb)
- ½ cup or 1 stick butter
- ½ cup flour
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp white pepper (can use black, but it will be visible with black specks)
- 1½ tsp ground mustard
- 1½ tsp onion powder
- 4 cups milk
- 2 Tablespoons Frank's Hot Sauce (up to ¼ cup)
- 2½ cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- Preheat an oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan.
- Fill a large saucepan with water, and bring to a boil. Stir in the macaroni; cook until al dente. Drain well. Pour noodles into prepared 9x13 pan.
- Meanwhile in another large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, onion powder, mustard powder, and milk; whisk until smooth. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, for 3-5 minutes until the sauce is hot and begins to bubble. Reduce heat to low, and whisk in cheese and hot sauce. Pour cheese sauce over noodles in prepared 9x13 pan.
- Bake, uncovered, 10 minutes.
Step number 3 in this recipe involves making a roux. The flour in the recipe acts as a thickening agent. If you just added flour to milk you’d end up with a clumpy mess. By combining the flour with a fat source (melted butter), you will be able to distribute the thickening agent throughout the sauce without leaving clumps behind. This same principle can be applied to any sauce or soup that needs to be thickened. A roux is equal parts flour to fat. Cornstarch is a stronger thickening agent that I use (with butter) in things like puddings and cream pies.