Everyone, and I mean everyone, loves a good old Mac & Cheese! And, don’t pretend you don’t love the one from the box – we all love the one from the box! There are all kinds of ways to zhoosh up Mac & Cheese like with blue cheese & lobster, or truffle butter, or whatever. But every now and then (like at Thanksgiving), you just want the cheesy old good stuff, not from the box, but cheesy goodness like the box!
I made this Mac & Cheese for the “kids table” for Friendsgiving. After the kids finished, I went upstairs to help them start their movie, and I “kid” you not, I came back downstairs and every single adult at the table had a heaping spoonful of this Mac & Cheese on their plate – it’s that good. Here’s how I made this classic dish:
1 lb large elbow macaroni noodles
4 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 tbsp all purpose flour
1-1/2 cups milk, at room temperature
8 oz American processed cheese, small diced (don’t judge, you know it’s what makes the Mac, Mac)
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Salt & pepper
Cook the noodles according to the directions on the box in heavily salted water, checking to see if they are done 2 minutes before the cooking time on the box – don’t overcook! Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan (if you make this too much, you may have a heavy bottom too 😉 ). When the butter is melted and starts to bubble, whisk in the flour and cook for 2 minutes over medium heat to make a roux. Whisking continuously, add the milk and continue whisking until the sauce starts to thicken – don’t look away! Season with a touch of salt (remember the cheese has a ton of salt), and a pinch of pepper. At this point, you have what’s called a bechamel, or one of the “five mother sauces” – congratulations! You’re an expert saucier!
Off the heat, add both cheeses and whisk continuously until completely melted and smooth. Enter velvety perfection!
Return the macaroni to the pot, and pour the cheese sauce over top. Gently mix with a wooden spoon until combined. Taste for seasoning and enjoy! Bon Appetit!