Easy Mac ‘n Cheese!

You know what’s nice every now & then, Kraft’s Spirals Mac ‘n Cheese, brings me back. But it’s nothing compared to the real thing! This is my first attempt at a homemade mac ‘n cheese without a recipe. I should call it …’flying by the seat of my pants mac ‘n cheese’, but that just doesn’t sound too appetizing. ;)

I have to be honest, when I cook without a recipe I just start throwing a lot of things together. I tried to measure as best I could this time and I was actually surprised at how much cheese went into this mac ‘n cheese, but every bite is well worth it! What really kicked it up a notch was the arrabiata sauce (it’s Batali brand and it’s amazing – albeit pricey).

The best part though and what I thought was really great, was how easy it is to make this homemade version of a childhood favorite. Once I got everything going I felt like it was no time at all before I was done & we were eating. I love meals like that. :)

Easy Mac ‘n Cheese
by Lacy DeVeney 

Ingredients

1 lb small shells, cooked & drained
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 small onion, small diced
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cup aged cheddar cheese
3/4 cup aged white cheddar cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese,  plus extra for topping
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, plus extra for topping
1/2 cup panko bread creams, divided
3 tablespoons arrabiata tomato sauce
salt
white pepper

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

In a large pot melt the butter over medium heat, add the onion, saute for 2 minutes then add garlic & saute for another 1 minute. Add the flour, stirring constantly to create your roux.  Slowly whisk in the milk and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly.

Add the cheeses, one at a time, stirring each until melted and thoroughly combined. Season with salt & pepper.

Once cheese sauce is seasoned to your liking remove from heat and add the cooked shells, arrabiata sauce and half of the panko bread crumbs.

Pour into a glass baking dish, sprayed with non stick cooking spray. Sprinkle the top with extra parmesan, mozzarella & remaining panko. Top with a few pats of butter. Cook for about 15 minutes or until top is golden brown.

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9 Responses to “Easy Mac ‘n Cheese!”

  1. January 31, 2012 at 9:49 am #

    This looks just like the kind you buy, except 10000x better. Yum!!

  2. January 21, 2012 at 1:12 am #

    I can’t get enough cheese. This is great. I need to try making this. I KNOW my kids will LOVE it :-)

  3. January 20, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

    Delicious! I LOVE that there are tomatoes in this. They’re not used often enough in mac & cheese and it’s amazing the flavor they give the dish! BRAVO

  4. January 20, 2012 at 3:02 pm #

    ok, wow this looks amazing-it is making me hungry, and the addition/little kick of the arrabiata sauce is a great idea-something I will def have to try next time I make mac and cheese

  5. January 19, 2012 at 7:52 pm #

    Mmmm…I love homemade mac and cheese. Heck, I even love the boxed mac and cheese! Looks great! :)

  6. January 19, 2012 at 5:08 pm #

    This looks fantastic! You have an award waiting for you :) http://carriesexperimentalkitchen.blogspot.com/2012/01/two-new-awards-versatile-blogger.html

  7. January 19, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

    Who could resist this mac and cheese looks divine!

  8. January 19, 2012 at 1:36 pm #

    Nothing beats homemade mac n cheese! Since I made my first batch like 10 years ago, I have hated Kraft with a passion!

  9. January 19, 2012 at 12:34 pm #

    Mac n cheese is so popular but I have never made it from scratch. There is even some fast food place here that just sells variations of the same. You sure did a wonderful job for a first-it looks delicious. Toasty on the top, creamy underneath and there is nothing dripping off that fork–those factors make this a fantastic recipe in my book-yum!