What do you do when you find yourself with several unopened blocks of cheese after a party for your three-year-old? Work on perfecting your go-to homemade mac and cheese recipe of course!
By George, I think I’ve finally done it! I’ve found our new favorite macaroni and cheese recipe without processed cheese or any products full of mystery ingredients. I’m not usually a fan of cheese sauces that start with a roux, but this one came out smooth, creamy and perfectly cheesy.
This mac and cheese can be made entirely on the stovetop (if you’re in a hurry to get dinner on the table) and is absolutely delicious. I ended up topping the stovetop mac and cheese with a little extra shredded cheddar and panko breadcrumbs and baked it for 25-30 minutes to give it a little crunch and take it to the next level. You guys, I’m in love. Worth every calorie.
Now if only I could convince my picky toddler to eat any macaroni and cheese that doesn’t come in the long, skinny noodles ala Kraft. Sigh… crazy kid doesn’t know what he’s missing…
- 16 oz small shell pasta (or pasta of your choice)
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- freshly ground black pepper (to taste or as desired)
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups freshly grated cheddar cheese*
- 1/4 cup Italian seasoned panko bread crumbs
* I strongly recommend shredding the cheese yourself from a block rather than using the pre-shredded cheese due to the coating that is usually present on the bagged shredded cheese.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- In medium-sized saucepan, melt butter with minced garlic over medium heat.
- Stir in flour, onion powder, and paprika. Cook for 3-5 minutes to form a roux. Add desired amount of salt and pepper.
- Slowly add milk, stirring until smooth and bubbly. Bring to a low boil and cook until the sauce begins to thicken.
- Stir in cheese in parts until is fully melted and smooth.
- Drain pasta. Pour cheese sauce over pasta and stir to combine.
- Top with panko bread crumbs.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes.