Who does not love mac and cheese? Mac and Cheese is cheesy, creamy goodness comfort food that appeals to anyone or everyone. With the holidays coming up, it will be a staple side dish on my table. It in recipe I used two of my favorite cheeses gruyere and sharp cheddar. I cooked the mac and cheese stove top and finished in the oven. Although mac and cheese does seem to be daunting to make, especially being homemade, the finish product outweighs the task.
Gruyere and cheddar are my favorite cheeses and are a great combo in mac and cheese. Gruyere has a hint of sweetness but a slight saltiness, when melted it is a beautiful creamy texture. Cheddar has a more pungent flavor, the more yellow the cheese the more flavor. I prefer using a yellow mild sharp cheddar because of the taste and it melt quickly and smoothly.
Other Cheeses for Mac and Cheese
- Brie- adds a richness and creaminess
- Gouda ( smoked)- is nutty, buttery, creamy and smooth.
- Cream Cheese- adds an unique flavor and creaminess
- Parmesan- great as a topping and adds a salty, nutty flavor
Side note: Avoid using packaged shredded cheese because there is a waxed film over the cheese. This wax dilutes the flavor of the cheese and just does not taste that great when melted. Rather get a block of cheese and shredded it yourself with a cheese grater. Although this is an extra step, it is well worth it!
Creamy, Homemade Mac and Cheese
- Oven resistant large pan
- large pot
- Measuring Cup
- Measuring Spoon
- Large (wooden) spoon
- cheese grated
- Baking pan
- 2 cups gruyere shredded
- 2 cups mild yellow cheddar shredded
- 6 tbsp butter
- 2½ cups whole milk set aside ½ cup
- 3½ tbsp all purpose flour
- 1 lb rigatoni pasta
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a broil. While broiling add dried pasta and cook for about 10 -15 minutes or till al dente.
- Making the cheese sauce. Melt butter in a large pan over medium heat (do not let it brown)
- Once butter is fully melted with a whisk stir in flour. Stir the butter flour mixture.
- Cook and stir butter flour mixture until the mixture is little dried out and had a golden brown color. Will take about 5-7 minutes
- Ad 2 cups milk to the butter flour mixture (set a side ½ cup). Whisk thoroughly until thick mixture is smooth.
- Cook and stir constantly until sauce starts to thicken about 2-3 minutes
- Once sauce is thickened stir in 1 cup of shredded gruyere cheese and 1 cup of shredder cheddar. Keep stirring sauce until all cheese has melted and it is smooth.
- With the addition of the cheeses, the sauce has thicken significantly. A tablespoon at a time add the set a side milk to the cheese sauce. You want the consistency of the cheese sauce to be similar to pancake batter.
- Stir in al dente pasta to cheese sauce and remaining shredded gruyere and cheddar cheese, cover pasta with cheese sauce.
- When the remaining cheese is melted and pasta is fully cover with cheese sauce. If any left over cheese, sprinkle on top. If pan is oven safe, place in 425° oven or pour mac and cheese in a greased 7×11 baking pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes , until cheese is bubbly and golden brown.
- After 15-20 minutes take mac and cheese out of oven and rest for 10 minutes. Than ready to serve