As a kid, I was mostly on an all-carb diet, so macaroni and cheese was at the top of my list. For better or for worse (okay probably for better), that no longer remains true, but I still have a soft spot for this cheesy bowl of pasta. No one makes better macaroni and cheese than my Dad, so naturally I asked him if I could share his recipe. I whipped it up myself and I have to say it turned out pretty darn good.
Mac and cheese is almost always delicious, but a bad version can turn out gummy and flavorless. It’s worth the few extra minutes of cooking to create a dish that is tasty enough to serve to guests and children alike. Because you know my future children will not be the type to eat foods that come out of a box.
Homemade Macaroni & Cheese
- 1 pound elbow macaroni, cavatappi, or similar pasta
- 4 cups whole milk
- 8 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1/2 cup flour
- 12 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated
- 8 ounces extra sharp Cheddar, grated
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Cook pasta al dente, according to package instructions.
Heat the milk in a small saucepan, without bringing to a boil. Meanwhile, in a large pot, melt 6 tablespoons of the butter and add the flour. Cook over low heat for a few minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, slowly add the hot milk. Continue to cook for 3-5 minutes longer, until the sauce is thick and smooth.
Remove from the heat and add the cheeses, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir in the cooked pasta and pour into a 3-quart baking dish.
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and combine with the breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over top and bake for 30 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is beginning to brown.
Refine Cooking Tips
- To make ahead, add the mixture to the baking dish and refrigerate overnight until ready to bake and serve.
- Adding the breadcrumbs and baking the macaroni can be skipped all together if you’re short on time. The dish is just as creamy and delicious without the final step.
- Feel free to switch up your cheeses – fontina, havarti, or gouda would create a different tasting dish.