The Best Mac and Cheese

Mac and Cheese is one of my family’s favorite foods!  We all love it.  And it makes a great dish to take to parties and potlucks.  Here is a great recipe and some ideas for some delicious twists to mix it up!

1 lb good Italian pasta (I use corkscrews or shells)
1 stick unsalted butter
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 cups whole milk
1 pound cheddar cheese (grated)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

1/2 stick butter
2 cups panko bread crumbs (regular bread crumbs work fine too)
2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a large pot bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil.  Cook pasta according to instructions (reserve 1 cup of cooking water to thin out sauce if needed).  In a saucepan melt butter over medium heat.  Stir in flour, whisking constantly for 2-3 minutes.  Slowly add the milk to the butter and flour while continuously whisking. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil.  Lower the heat to medium and continue to cook until the liquid has thickened enough and coats the back of a spoon.  Stir in cheese (cheddar and parmesan).  Season with salt and pepper and add 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water (more if needed).  Spray/grease a 9x 13 pan.  Add the pasta and pour the cheese mixture over.  Melt the 1/2 stick of butter and mix in the bread crumbs and grated parmesan cheese.  Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture of the noodles and cheese.  Bake for 30 minutes.

For a fun twist, add 2-4 tablespoons chipotle in adobe to the cheese sauce.  Some sauteed scallions and bacon make a fun twist as well.





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