Homemade Mac 'n Cheese
So my son said to me ... "Mom, your mac 'n cheese tastes different every time you make it." Fair. Because I always use what cheese I have on-hand. The key to success is to use a combination of aged, full flavor cheese with other cheeses that are young and creamy which will ensure a rich sauce. And adding red pepper flakes and Dijon mustard to the roux adds another layer of flavor. Don't omit them.
In our recent travels I have found a similar recipes on the menus but with a few add-ins; cubes of smokey ham, chopped fresh broccoli, peas... Feel free to make this recipe your own. We have.
This recipe is adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook edited by Ruth Reichl.
- Butter - 2 tablespoons, unsalted & melted
- Panko bread crumbs - 2 cups
- Cheddar cheese - 1 cup, grated (2 years of age)
- Dried macaroni - 12 ounces, shells, elbow, or penne
- Butter - 3 tablespoons, unsalted
- All-purpose flour - 3 tablespoons
- Red pepper flakes - 1/2 teaspoon
- Dijon mustard - 2 teaspoons
- Nutmeg - A couple of grates
- Whole milk - 3 1/2 cups
- Salt - 1 teaspoon
- White pepper - 1/4 teaspoon
- Cheddar cheese, extra sharp - 1 1/2 cups, shredded (aged no more than two years0
- Parmesan or Pecorino Ramano Cheese - 1/4 cup, shredded
- Cream cheese - 4 ounces
- Goat cheese - 2 ounces
- Melt butter and combine with grated cheese and Panko bread crumbs. Set aside.
- Make the roux by melting butter and adding flour (to the melted butter) in a large straight sided sauté pan over a medium-low heat.
- While the roux (flour & butter) is cooking, stir in the red pepper flakes, Dijon mustard and nutmeg.
- Add milk to the roux and continue to stir over medium heat until white sauce has thickened. Turn the heat off and add all of the remaining cheese. Stir to combine.
- Butter 9 X 13 inch casserole pan and add cooked pasta.
- Pour cheese sauce over pasta and stir to combine.
- Sprinkle cheese and Panko mixture evenly over the top.
- Bake in 400 degree F oven for 25-30 minutes.