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
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
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.