Prep 30 mins
Cook 15 mins
Updated 9/27/12 with additional notes I've learned over time. This is a personal recipe based on traditional bechamel-based mac-n-cheese. Super creamy and flavorful. I like mine in the microwave, but also tastes great in the oven. For my own taste, I like 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar, 1 cup mild cheddar, and 1/2 cup Italian blend. Re: comment about "kicked up white sauce", not using enough cheese or only mild cheeses would certainly taste more like a white sauce, but that is why I have written the recipe to taste. There are so many combinations to try :) Please feel free to use your favorite cheese(s) and plenty of it! 3 cups is just what works for me.
- Boil macaroni according to package directions.
- Cheese Sauce.
- Melt butter in saucepan over low heat. (low heat is important! watch carefully).
- Add flour gradually while whisking and cook for 1 minute, still whisking.
- Add a small amount of milk to start the sauce then add all the spices.
- Keep on whisking while adding the rest of the milk. Turn up the heat to high or medium high depending on your stove, just be careful not to scorch the sauce. The more you whisk, the creamier the sauce will be.
- As sauce approaches a boil, begin to whisk in cheese one handful at a time, ensuring all cheese is melted before adding another. (Helps with texture and greasiness).
- Take off the heat and whisk vigorously one last time.
- Pour over cooked macaroni in 13x9 pan and stir together. The last 1/2 cup of sauce may be too much depending on type and amount of pasta. Sprinkle additional cheese over the top if desired.
- Microwave on 70% power for 15:00 minutes or until set. If you prefer baking, it comes out well at 350 after about 30-35 minutes.
We liked the garlic and mustard but overall it tasted like a kicked-up white sauce, not so much like a cheese sauce. It also made a huge amount of sauce for the amount of noodles. Next time I will reduce the amount of milk.
That said my picky 3yr old loved this so we will be making it again!
I've made this twice now, both times when my youngest daughter's boyfriend was here. I told him I'd have to make something else next time or he'd think that was all I could cook. He told me I can make this every time he is over and he will be happy. Very good mac & cheese!
I took this to the church potluck today. I tripled the recipe and did not come home with a drop left.