Mac N Cheese

I have been making lasagne without pre boiling my pasta noodles for years now, so why did it take so long to try it with elbow macaroni?  Not sure, but I will always do it that way now!  Give this a try and let me know what you think.  

Mac n Cheese

1/2 cup unsalted butter, divided

1/4 cup flour

3 cups milk

1 tbsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp dijon mustard

1 lb (450 gms) elbow macaroni

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 cup panko or home made bread crumbs

2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley

Preheat oven to 400.  Melt 1/4 cup butter in large saucepan over medium high heat.  Add flour, and mustard,  cook, whisking constantly for 1 minute to allow the flour and butter to brown slightly.  Slowly whisk in milk until you have a smooth consistency.  Add 3 cups water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, whisking often until you have a thin but glossy sauce. (around 10 min)  Stir in 1 tbsp kosher salt and 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper.

Toss dry, uncooked pasta with 1 1/2 cups grated cheese and put in 13 x 9 x 2″ baking dish.  Pour sauce over – do not stir – and cover with foil.  Bake for at least 20 minutes – check to see if the pasta is almost cooked through.

Melt 1/4 cup butter in fry pan, stir in garlic – saute lightly and toss with bread crumbs and panko until lightly browned.

Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of cheese over pasta, then top with bread crumb/garlic mixture.  Return to the oven for another 10 minutes or so until top is bubbling and golden brown.

This is the basic recipe – I’m pretty sure you won’t be pre-cooking your pasta before baking your own mac and cheese again!

Tonight’s version of this included:

aged white cheddar cheese and smoked gouda cheese

cubed cooked chicken

diced roasted red pepper

capers

whole grape tomatoes

The whole family loved it, and you can adapt this very easily to any leftovers or cravings in your household.  

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