Macaroni and cheese: one of the most beautifully delicious foods ever. There are many many recipes for mac and cheese (and many of them are excellent), but when I'm cooking homemade mac just as a side for dinner, I don't want it complicated. So I stripped this recipe down to it's bones.. just a wonderfully simple cheesy macaroni.
To make this recipe even more simple (or if your main dish is hogging oven space) you can skip the panko and broil step and serve directly from the saucepan.
I usually prep the macaroni up to step 6 and throw it in the oven on broil for a quick crunchy heat up while the meat rests.
WATCH THE MACARONI WHILE IT'S IN THE OVEN ON BROIL. Broil can be a scary temperature and can burn dinner to a crisp and set fire alarms off while you're innocently making a salad and Nick starts sniffing the air "What's that burning smell?"
This recipe can be saved post smoky mess by simply scraping off the burnt bits .. it's fineeee.
Serves 2 as a side
- 2 cups large elbow pasta
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoon flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 heaping cup of shredded cheddar
- salt and pepper
- panko (you can mix the panko with a tablespoon of melted butter if you're feeling fancy)
1. Cook pasta al dente according to the box instructions. Strain and leave in colander.
2. In the same saucepan over medium heat melt the butter. Once melted, whisk in the flour. Whisk until the mixture slightly darkens (about 2-3 minutes).
3. Whisk in the milk and bring to a soft boil for about 5 minutes or until thickened.
4. Take the saucepan off the heat and stir in the cheese until melted.
5. Add the pasta to the cheese mixture and salt and pepper to taste. Eat a large spoonful just to be sure it's seasoned well ;)
6. Pour the macaroni into a small casserole dish. At this point the macaroni can hang out if the rest of your meal is still cooking.
7. Sprinkle a couple shakes of panko over the macaroni and place in the oven on broil for just a couple minutes until the panko is browned.