Perfect Mac and Cheese

One of my all-time favorite comfort foods is an ooey gooey rich creamy Macaroni and Cheese. I came across this Martha Stewart recipe and since then have tweaked it to be a little easier for me to make. I also doubled some of the spices for a little stronger flavor. This recipe is my favorite for potlucks around the holidays because it’s an instant crowd pleaser.

Serves 15-18

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Italian style Panko bread crumbs
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5 1/2 cups skim milk or 2% milk
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 1/2 cups (about 16 ounces) grated sharp white cheddar
  • 2 cups (about 8 ounces) grated Gruyere
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni cooked al dente

 

Directions:

Mac and Cheese Sauce

1. Fill a large pot with water and make elbow macaroni noodles to manufacturer’s directions al dente. Heat milk in saucepan while preparing rest of ingredients. Transfer the macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well.

2. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish; set aside.  Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. When butter bubbles, add flour. Cook, stirring, 1-2 minutes.

2. Slowly pour hot milk into flour-butter mixture while whisking. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick, approximately 12-15 min.

3. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 3 cups cheddar, and 1 1/2 cups Gruyere. Set cheese sauce aside.

4. Stir cooled and drained macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce.

5. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle remaining 1 1/2 cups cheddar and 1/2 cup Gruyere; scatter breadcrumbs over the top. Bake until browned on top, about 30 minutes. Transfer dish to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes; serve.

Note: The creaminess isn’t retained if you reheat it or let it cool. For leftovers if you add a little milk and stir it before reheating, you’ll have a nice and creamy snack.

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