Homemade Mac and Cheese

3 Dec

This has been my go to mac and cheese recipe for the past few years; it is cheesy, gooey and delicious.  It can go right in the oven or be made ahead of time and baked before eating.  The combination of flavors is outstanding and it is a serious crowd pleaser. I make mine with homemade pasta and it has become one of my signature dishes.

No, this is not healthy. But it is worth it. Serve it with some kale if you want to feel better about the splurge.

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for dish

loaf french bread, crust removed, torn into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces

2 1/2 cups milk

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoons salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/8  teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/8  teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

2 1/4  cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese (about 9 ounces)

1 cups grated Gruyère cheese(about 4 ounces)

3/8 cups grated Pecorino Romano cheese (about 1.25 ounces)

about 1 lb macaroni, homemade or storebought

Directions:

Heat oven to 375°. Butter casserole dish; set aside. Place bread in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoons butter. Pour butter into bowl with bread, and toss. Set breadcrumbs aside.

Meanwhile, fill a large pot with water; bring to a boil.

Heat milk over low heat in small saucepan.  Melt remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. When butter bubbles, add flour. Cook, whisking, 1 minute.

While whisking, slowly pour in a little bit of hot milk (about 1/2 a cup). Continue cooking, whisking until it rethickens.  Continue to add milk and whisk, until you have added all the milk and the mixture bubbles and becomes thick.

Remove pan from heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and about 2/3 of the cheese; set cheese sauce aside.

Add macaroni to boiling water; cook 2 to 3 minutes less than manufacturer’s directions, until the outside of pasta is cooked and the inside is underdone.

Transfer macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well. Stir macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce

Pour mixture into prepared dish. Sprinkle remaining cheese, and breadcrumbs over top. (If you are making ahead, cover with foil, and refrigerate up to one day). Bake until browned on top, about 30 minutes. Transfer dish to a wire rack to cool 5 minutes; serve hot.

I make this in smaller little containers for individual or cute servings.  This recipe can be halved if you are not making for a crowd.

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