A holiday table in the south isn't complete without a heaping dish of macaroni and cheese. This universally loved side pleases the pickiest eaters with its bubbling cheesy goodness.
Yardbird's Jeff McInnis shares a mac and cheese from his family to yours:
"The inspiration behind this dish is my grandma Kathryn, who always made macaroni casserole. I loved the semi-burnt cheese topping that would stick to the dish and on top. At the restaurant, the casserole dish is much smaller, but we still get the same effect. We add some bread crumbs to the crust for texture. Cornbread crumbs work great, too."
Yardbird Southern Table & Bar Macaroni and Cheese
1 pound torchio pasta (Substitute penne, rigatoni or elbow macaroni)
½ cup butter
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon Creole mustard
5 cups milk
1 ½ cups yellow onion, finely diced
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon paprika
1 ½ cups medium cheddar cheese, shredded
2 cups Grayson cheese, shredded (Substitute Manchego or Swiss)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
2 cups leftover bread crumbs (I like to use the leftover cornbread)
½ cup soft butter
Pinch of fine herbs
Salt and pepper to taste
1 large pinch shredded cheddar for topping
In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente (about 8 minutes).
Remove and cool pasta immediately in refrigerator on a flat cold sheet pan.
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Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
In a separate pot, melt the ¼ pound of butter.
Whisk in the flour and keep stirring the mixture for about five minutes constantly.
Make sure mixture is free of lumps and then stir in the milk, onion, bay leaves, mustard and paprika.
Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaves.
Stir in the cheese in batches, being careful not to break the sauce.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Fold the macaroni into the hot cheese and pour into a 9-inch cast iron casserole dish.
Top with a big pinch of cheese.
For the topping
Melt the butter in a sauté pan and toss the herbs, salt and pepper, bread crumbs to coat.
Place a thin layer of the topping over the cheesy mac in the cast iron dish and place in oven.
Bake approximately 12 to 15 minutes, or until lightly brown on top.
Remove from oven and serve.