Taste it: Mac & Cheese

Here is the deal. I have never been a big cheese person. I know, I know, go ahead and weep for me but it is a sad but true statement. So since cheese is not the numero uno food in my life I tend not to order or cook macaroni and cheese. Ok, pause number two for some weeping. That being said my husband and son really enjoy cheese, heck Oliver will try any cheese sample out at Whole Foods including the ones that I would not touch with a ten foot pole. Anyways, I digress. This is a post about a recipe for macaroni and cheese, right? Yes, it is. In an effort to assuage my cheese loving boys I decided to make my own macaroni and cheese rather than the stuff out of a box and you know what? I really enjoyed it. A lot. It is a simple recipe that can be dressed up a bit by adding chopped kale or cooked bacon but I think it is a lovely meal with a side salad. So although I may not be a cheese convert I do immensely enjoy this creamy, comforting Winter meal. 

Continue reading to see how the above trappings of a great macaroni and cheese become golden, brown and delicious.

The recipe itself is a four step process. Make the topping, make the sauce, boil the pasta and finally assemble and cook.

1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1 clove of garlic, minced
4 Tablespoons butter, plus more for greasing pan
3 cups of milk
3 Tablespoons flour
1 tsp salt
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of cayenne pepper
black pepper
8 oz good white cheddar, shredded
4 oz gruyere or gruyere and swiss blend, shredded
2 oz shredded parmesan or pecorino romano
1/2 lb whole wheat elbow macaroni


Preheat oven to 375 degress. Grease your pan. Melt 1 Tablespoon of butter in a small dish and add the minced garlic and panko breadcrumbs, stir to coat and set aside. In a saucepan melt the 3 Tablespoons of butter over medium heat until it begins to foam. Add in the 3 Tablespoons of butter and cook together for one minute.
Slowly add in the milk, stirring constantly with a whisk until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick. Remove from the heat and stir in the shredded cheese, taking care to incorporate all of the it. Add in the nutmeg, salt, cayenne and black pepper. Set the cheese sauce aside.
Boil the water for the pasta and cook the pasta two minutes less than stated on the package. Drain the macaroni throughly and stir the macaroni into the cheese sauce.
Pour the mixture into the prepared dish and top with the panko breadcumbs. Bake until brown and bubbly, about 30-40 minutes. Let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.


This is a delightful meal on a cold evening and it reheats beautifully for a tasty lunch the next day. Sometime soon my recipes will shift from the warm and comforting to the light and springy...i hope. Come on Spring. Too many more cold evenings and I will not be able to get rid of the my ahem, winter weight, those pesky couple extra pounds that sneak up on you during the cold winter months. But meanwhile I shall enjoy the mac and cheese and my new found appreciation fro some cheeses. 

adapted from this recipe

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