My family was NOT thrilled when we gave up the processed boxed mac and cheese. They loved it! I had tried several recipes for homemade mac and cheese but no one really liked it. Especially not the kids. Then I began ditching the recipes I had found and started creating this one. It was an instant hit! Easy to make too. My kids LOVE picking out different noodles for this recipe every time I make it. They no longer ask or miss the boxed stuff!
6 tbs butter
1/2 Cup flour
3 1/2 Cups of milk
1 Cup bread crumbs (I used panko)
Noodles of your choice (I used rainbow fat O shaped noodles this time)
About 1/2 cup each of Cheddar, Asiago, Parmesan (Or any combo you prefer)
Pot x 2 (Unless you are like me and rinse the pot out to use it again in this recipe.)
Baking dish (Unless your pot can go from stove top to oven, in which case I am extremely jealous of you right now!!)
Shredder of some sort if you are using fresh cheese. I used my food processor with a shred blade on it.
Cook your pasta to the directions on the package then place in the large bowl. Rinse out the pot to reuse it or use your second pot…
While the pasta is cooking, now would be the best time to shred the cheese if you are using fresh.
In the skillet melt 2 tbs butter on med heat.
In the pot melt 4 tbs butter on med heat.
Once the butter is melted in the skillet, mix in the breadcrumbs and turn off the heat immediately. You just want the breadcrumbs to soak up the butter, not actually brown or cook. Forget about the breadcrumbs for now. They are doing their own thing.
Once the butter in the pot is melted, add the flour and whisk until smooth creating a roux.
Next add the milk to the roux and whisk until blended and smooth. Some people will add the milk a little at a time. I am not one of those people. I just add it all at once and whisk until blended and smooth. You will want to whisk almost constantly to make sure the cream sauce does not burn.
Add the cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, garlic (to taste) to the milk mixture.
You will know when the milk mixture is done as it will thicken and stick to the spoon or whisk (gravy like consistency).
Once the cream sauce is done, turn off the heat and add the cheese directly to it. You do not want to cook the cheese, only blend it in to creamed sauce. Mix together until the cheese is completely melted.
Add the noodles to the cheese sauce and blend together until completely mixed.
You can add broccoli, ham, cauliflower, salsa (recipe here) etc to it. The sky is the limit on this one! If you want to add anything else to it, this is the time to add it in.
If your pot can not go into the oven (like mine) then you will need to transfer it to the baking dish.
Remember the breadcrumbs I told you to forget about? Well, time to remember them and sprinkle them on top of the mac n cheese.
Bake at 425 until the breadcrumbs are nice and golden brown (about 20 minutes)