Mac and Cheese - Ultra Creamy, Ultra Delicious

Mac and Cheese - Ultra Creamy, Ultra Delicious

Do you have one of those already made just add water to it mac and cheese boxes in your house? There is no shame in that, so do I! I think nutritious, smart eating is about more than solely the nutritional value. It’s about balancing what’s good for you nutritionally, while retaining your mental sanity. There will be days where you will absolutely not be able or willing to cook. And if you have that frozen pizza or mac and cheese box – go ahead, use it.

I just love breaking the crunchy topping and digging into the delicious creamy noodles!

But for the days where you do have the motivation and a few extra minutes… Make this! It’s so rich and so delicious. I wouldn’t call it healthy, but it is made with real and simple ingredients instead of those preservative-filled boxed varieties.

By far, the most important step in making Mac and Cheese is the béchamel sauce. It’s not mustard or any secret spice that you use that makes the best mac and cheese. You can do whatever you want, use any cheese or spice that you want – it’s starting off your sauce right. Add milk too quick and your mac and cheese has no chance, it will be dry and grainy… For this reason, I put every single little detail in the recipe for success with the béchamel base of the sauce.

Furthermore, depending on which ingredients you use, you can make everything from every day ultra creamy mac and cheese, to knock your socks off lobster Mac and Cheese!

For the lobster mac and cheese, the preparation is exactly the same, except I replace the cheese with White Cheddar and lay the cooked lobster pieces in the middle of the mac and cheese casserole (layering the pieces in the middle, where the heat will reach last, prevent overcooking the lobster meat, so don’t scatter it all over the dish .) Next time I make it I will post a detailed step by step!

Please note, there’s no mistake in this recipe. It may seem to you that the amount of macaroni is insufficient. That’s not the case – the amount is perfect to make ultra creamy delicious mac and cheese! For me personally, if I’m already going to eat white pasta and rich cheese sauce – I might as well go all out and make it extra creamy, instead of some homemade mac and cheese meals that come out too dry.

Feel free to get creative with the cheese selection. Delicious ultra melty Gruyere anyone for gourmet option?

DifficultyBeginner

Note:
The most important part of making Mac and Cheese is Step 3. Adding the milk slowly and ensuring your sauce gets thick and smooth is key.

Unfortunately, providing amount of cups does not work for pasta. It's not 2 cups... It has to be 1/2 pound or 8 oz. That's approximately 1 3/4 cup of macaroni, but for my medium shells pasta it was 2 3/4 cups. It all depends on the shape of the pasta.

I use regular extra sharp Cheddar (I used white Cheddar in the pictures for this recipe) for standard recipe. However, replace 2 of the 3 cups with Gruyere cheese for a gourmet mac and cheese.

Yields4 Servings
Prep Time15 minsCook Time40 minsTotal Time55 mins

 ½ lb macaroni or other pasta (I used medium shells pasta) - please see note
 ¼ cup flour
 ¼ cup butter
 2 ½ cups milk
 3 cups extra sharp cheese (cheddar for the standard recipe, or use 2 cups Gruyere+1 cup Cheddar for a gourmet mac and cheese)
 ¼ cup Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated
 pinch of nutmeg
 kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
 1 tbsp melted butter (or oil) or oil spray
 ½ cup panko bread crumbs (or regular breadcrumbs)
 ¼ tsp nutmeg, optional
 ¼ tsp garlic powder, optional
 ¼ tsp mustard powder, optional

1

Preheat the oven to 375. Place the racks to the upper third of the oven.

2

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook macaroni according to the package instructions to very al dente. Drain.

3

Meanwhile, melt butter over medium high heat in a sauce pan. When the butter starts to foam and bubble, add flour, whisking consistently - you are making a roux. Cook it for about 2 minutes to cook off the raw taste, stirring constantly; do not let your roux get dark!

This next step is the most important and will make or break your mac and cheese...

Add a little bit of milk in a steady stream. If you add too much too quick, your sauce may separate and not be able to be saved. Your sauce must get very thick; as it gets thick - your job is to work out all of the lumps and dissolve all of the flour pockets into thick but very smooth sauce. At that point, at a bit more milk, whisking constantly. After all of the lumps are gone, continue adding the rest of milk in a steady stream while whisking; after you have added all the milk, your sauce will thin out.

Allow the sauce to simmer for a minute or two until thickened slightly, but not too much. You now made béchamel sauce!

4

Reduce heat to the lowest setting and stir cheeses a handful at a time, whisking after each addition to incorporate the cheese into the sauce; make sure at no point your sauce boils once the cheese is added. Once all the cheese is added and melted, remove from heat.

Add nutmeg, garlic powder, mustard powder (if using,) salt and pepper to taste and stir. Add your macaroni and ensure the mixture is well combined. Pour it into a lightly greased 8 or 9" square baking dish.

5

Combine panko with 1 tablespoon of melted butter (I sprinkle Panko and spray with oil spray) and sprinkle on top of your mac and cheese. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until the sauce is bubbling out and the top is browned. If not browned and crisp enough, broil for a couple of minutes watching closely not to burn with the oven door open. Enjoy!

Ingredients

 ½ lb macaroni or other pasta (I used medium shells pasta) - please see note
 ¼ cup flour
 ¼ cup butter
 2 ½ cups milk
 3 cups extra sharp cheese (cheddar for the standard recipe, or use 2 cups Gruyere+1 cup Cheddar for a gourmet mac and cheese)
 ¼ cup Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated
 pinch of nutmeg
 kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
 1 tbsp melted butter (or oil) or oil spray
 ½ cup panko bread crumbs (or regular breadcrumbs)
 ¼ tsp nutmeg, optional
 ¼ tsp garlic powder, optional
 ¼ tsp mustard powder, optional

Directions

1

Preheat the oven to 375. Place the racks to the upper third of the oven.

2

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook macaroni according to the package instructions to very al dente. Drain.

3

Meanwhile, melt butter over medium high heat in a sauce pan. When the butter starts to foam and bubble, add flour, whisking consistently - you are making a roux. Cook it for about 2 minutes to cook off the raw taste, stirring constantly; do not let your roux get dark!

This next step is the most important and will make or break your mac and cheese...

Add a little bit of milk in a steady stream. If you add too much too quick, your sauce may separate and not be able to be saved. Your sauce must get very thick; as it gets thick - your job is to work out all of the lumps and dissolve all of the flour pockets into thick but very smooth sauce. At that point, at a bit more milk, whisking constantly. After all of the lumps are gone, continue adding the rest of milk in a steady stream while whisking; after you have added all the milk, your sauce will thin out.

Allow the sauce to simmer for a minute or two until thickened slightly, but not too much. You now made béchamel sauce!

4

Reduce heat to the lowest setting and stir cheeses a handful at a time, whisking after each addition to incorporate the cheese into the sauce; make sure at no point your sauce boils once the cheese is added. Once all the cheese is added and melted, remove from heat.

Add nutmeg, garlic powder, mustard powder (if using,) salt and pepper to taste and stir. Add your macaroni and ensure the mixture is well combined. Pour it into a lightly greased 8 or 9" square baking dish.

5

Combine panko with 1 tablespoon of melted butter (I sprinkle Panko and spray with oil spray) and sprinkle on top of your mac and cheese. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until the sauce is bubbling out and the top is browned. If not browned and crisp enough, broil for a couple of minutes watching closely not to burn with the oven door open. Enjoy!

Mac N Cheese

Make it Gluten-Free: replace flour with good-quality all purpose gluten free flour, replace macaroni with gluten free macaroni, omit breadcrumbs or replace with gluten free breadcrumbs. Ensure all your ingredients are gluten free and not cross-contaminated with gluten.

Happens to be Vegetarian.

Look how creamy it is. On top of that deliciousness, we will add crunchy layer of Panko breadcrumbs
Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.