Macaroni and Cheese

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Four to six


Appears in

Craig Claiborne’s Kitchen Primer

Craig Claiborne’s Kitchen Primer

By Craig Claiborne

Published 1969

  • About


  • pound (8 ounces) raw elbow macaroni
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups hot milk
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 cups diced sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

  2. Cook the macaroni according to package directions but be careful not to overcook it. It should be tender but not mushy. Pour the macaroni into a colander and immediately rinse with cold water. This will keep the macaroni from sticking together. Set aside.

  3. Melt half the butter and stir in the flour, using a wire whisk. Add the milk, stirring rapidly with the whisk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. When the mixture is thickened and smooth, add salt, pepper, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the Cheddar cheese.

  4. Butter a 2-quart baking dish and pour a little of the sauce over the bottom. Add a layer of macaroni, more sauce, and so on, but end with a layer of sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and dot with remaining butter. Bake until bubbling and golden-brown, about 25 minutes.