I know, I know. I’ve claimed before to have the perfect mac and cheese recipe. And I really thought I did. And to some members of my family, it still is the favorite. The former recipe is the kind that is baked with eggs and therefore is a meal unto itself.
This one is the one I make to go along with fried chicken or Hammy Sammies or Beef Roast Sandwiches. Heck, this would make a PBJ look great. You could also easily add chunks of ham and make it a full meal. Add some bacon or crab if it floats your boat! The possibilities are endless.
Our favorite combinations are a Havarti (2 cups) Cheddar (4 cups) blend with bacon, or smoked Gouda/Cheddar with ham. Also, we’ve grown quite fond of next-day-leftovers fried in refined coconut oil.
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This one has become my frenemy. It is why I exercise. I both love and despise it.
It took me awhile to perfect it. I’m super sorry to the friends I tried it out on before I got the seasonings quite right. We’re there. It’s now safe to eat.
And it’s EASY. The only bummer is the tired hand you’ll have from grating all of that cheddar.
Boil your choice of pasta (I love cavatappi ’cause it’s just so fun) in water salted with a teaspoon of salt until al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, melt 1/2 c. (1 stick) of butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle in 1/2 c. flour and whisk together for 2-3 minutes to let it cook.
Slowly pour in 4 cups of whole milk (don’t skimp here–in fact you can even use some cream) whisking as you go until smooth. Add in 6 cups freshly shredded Cheddar (I use white or sharp). You can mix your cheeses if you’d like. Last time I made it I substituted in one cup of Gouda for one cup of the Cheddar and my husband declared it the best yet. I’ve also added in Parmagiano/Reggiano as well.
Add in 1 T. salt and 1 T. pepper. It’s a lot of spice, but you’ll need it. If you’re not huge pepper fans cut that down a bit, but you need the full amount of salt for this amount of pasta. I use Kosher or sea salt or my new favorite Real Salt.
Put the whole hot, gooey mixture into a buttered 9×13 pan.
In a small skillet, melt 2 T. butter over medium heat. Add in 1/2 c. panko bread crumbs. Stir constantly until golden brown. Sprinkle over the macaroni.
Bake in a 325 degree preheated oven for 12-15 minutes.
Hot, cheesy perfection.
THE Mac and Cheese Grocery List
1 lb. pasta
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. flour
4 c. milk
6 c. sharp or white Cheddar
1 T. salt
1 T. pepper
2. T. butter
1/2 c. panko bread crumbs