I have two other macaroni and cheese recipes on the blog and they are both good but… I’ve been looking for something better and I think I found it. Soso said it was the best mac and cheese I’ve made by far and Peanut proved the point by eating a lot of it.
I adapted this recipe from one on Epicurious by Garrett McCoid. I changed it up just a little bit by using two types of cheese, Cheddar and Monterey Jack and adding a dash of nutmeg. I put down 14 ounces of cheddar and 6 ounces of Monterey Jack, but that’s really an approximate. I use about 3 to 1 ratio, but it’s all flexible, depending on taste and the quantity of cheese I have on hand. Same thing with the pasta. Elbows are used traditionally, but my family likes Cavatappi/Cellentani or Pipette. I don’t think it matters too much, it just depends on personal taste.
Prep time: 15 mins Cook time: 45 mins
3 tablespoon butter
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 pound pasta of choice
3 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoon flour
3 cups of milk
14 ounces of extra sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
6 ounces of Monterey Jack, grated
1 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper or to taste
dash of nutmeg or to taste
In a small saucepan, melt 3 tablespoon of butter for the topping. Stir in the Panko bread crumbs, toss and set aside.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta until al dente, drain and return to the pot.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the remaining 3 tablespoon of butter. Add the flour and dry mustard and stir the mixture until smooth. Slowly add the milk while stirring constantly until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and add in the grated cheese and stir until it’s melted. Add the salt and pepper to taste. Pour the cheese sauce into the pot with the pasta and stir gently until the pasta is coated.
Pour the macaroni and cheese into a buttered 9 x 13 baking dish, top with the panko bread crumbs. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the top is light golden brown. Serve hot.
If making ahead, pour the macaroni and cheese into the baking dish and cool completely before refrigerating. It can also be frozen. Just make sure to wrap it carefully. Add the bread crumbs before baking.