Guys. This is my no-fail, go-to, melty mac & cheese. I make it for every holiday, so I guess it's become my "signature dish." I bake it in the oven just long enough that the top layer gets a little crispy and seals in all the oozing, gooey cheese underneath. Y'all all know you love mac & cheese, so I'm not gonna even try to sell this one to you. Just keep reading if you want to learn how to make perfect mac & cheese EVERY time.
First, you gotta make a roux. This is what will make your mac & cheese niiice and rich and creamy. In a large sauce pan, melt your butter until it starts bubbling, then add in your flour and whisk vigorously to remove all clumps.
Once your flour is totally incorporated and has gotten nice and brown (a process that takes no more than a minute), you'll start whisking in your milk and cream. I like to add just a few tbsp at first, which makes it easier to blend. Whisk til smooth, then add the remaining milk and cream slowly, while whisking quickly and continuously.
Thennnn, you're gonna add the cheese. I like to use several different kinds.
Once your cheese has melted and your sauce has thickened, you'll pour it over your pasta (which will already be waiting for you in a greased dish), and then pop it in the oven!
While it cooks, your kitchen (or entire 1 bedroom apartment) will be filled with the intoxicating smell of warm, bubbly cheese. It is torture. Praying for you.
But when it's done, you'll have this. A beautiful, crisp top layer covering miles and miles of melty cheese and pasta. Ugh. I just love it so much.
Ingredients (makes approx 4 servings. I usually triple this to serve 8-10 for holidays..shown above):
• 1.5 cups elbow macaroni
• 3 tbsp butter
• 3 tbsp all purpose flour
• 2 cups milk and half & half combined
• 1/2 tsp salt (or more, to taste)
• 1/2 tsp ground black pepper (or more, to taste)
• ***secret ingredient*** 1/2 tsp mustard powder (trust me! it adds this bite that you just can't get with anything else)
• 2 cups shredded cheese (I use cheddar, colby jack, and 6 blend Italian)
• Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta for 10 minutes (just under al dente). Once cooked, drain and transfer to a greased dish (about 8" x 10")
• Over low/medium heat, melt butter
• Add flour by the tbsp and whisk until totally incorporated. Let cook until browned and bubbly (no more than a minute)
• Gradually pour in milk/cream and whisk continuously to avoid clumps
• Add in your cheese, salt, pepper, and mustard powder, and stir to combine. Allow cheese to melt and sauce to thicken, stirring occasionally
• Once thickened, *carefully* taste the sauce to make sure it's seasoned well, add more salt and pepper if necessary, and then pour sauce over pasta, and bake for about 25-30 minutes, until bubbling and golden brown
That's all, folks!
Note: you'll bake your mac & cheese for more or less time, depending on how deep your dish is. About 25-30 for a 2 inch dish.
Note: feel free to manipulate the bake times depending on how funny you like your mac & cheese. I personally like mine a little firmer.
Hi! I'm Shantal.