Mac & Cheese, for Real


Okay, my sister-in-law Michelle gave me this recipe, which we are trying tonight. For those who want to make the attempt alongside me. 🙂

For topping

  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 2 cups panko (coarse Japanese bread crumbs) or 3 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs (from 6 slices firm white sandwich bread)
  • 1/4 pound coarsely grated extra-sharp Cheddar (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

For macaroni and sauce

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 5 cups whole milk
  • 1 pound coarsely grated extra-sharp Cheddar (6 cups)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni


Make topping:
Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle.

Melt butter, then stir together with panko and topping cheeses in a bowl until combined well.

Make sauce:
Melt butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat and stir in flour. Cook roux, stirring, 3 minutes, then whisk in milk. Bring sauce to a boil, whisking constantly, then simmer, whisking occasionally, 3 minutes. Stir in cheeses, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper until smooth. Remove from heat and cover surface of sauce with wax paper.

Make Macaroni:
Cook macaroni in a pasta pot of boiling salted water (2 tablespoons salt for 4 quarts water) until al dente. Reserve 1 cup cooking water and drain macaroni in a colander. Stir together macaroni, reserved cooking water, and sauce in a large bowl. Transfer to 2 buttered 2-quart shallow baking dishes.

Sprinkle topping evenly over macaroni and bake until golden and bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes.

5 thoughts on “Mac & Cheese, for Real

  1. Kelley

    Hmm..I will try this. It must be the cup of water from the pasta that helps keep it creamy.

    What have you been doing before this recipe, o queen of homemade macaroni? 🙂

  2. Tamara Copple

    And that’s 375 weight watchers points per recipe, divided by 8 servings (that’s according to the # of servings on the box) and survey says. . . . 47 points. I get 29 per day plus 49 per week for ‘treats.’ Wow. . . still it sounds decadant!!

  3. We were all kind of “meh” about this recipe, honestly. At a minimum, cut the bread topping by half b/c it’s far, far too thick on top.

    Chrissy sent me this recipe:

    from The New Classics Cookbook
    1/4 c unbleached or AP flour
    2 1/2 c 1% milk (though I use skim)
    1 clove of garlic, halved
    1/2 tsp dry mustard
    1/4 tsp salt (I sometimes leave this out. Mom never made this recipe but she ignored the salt adding since dad would add it to his plate.)
    1/4 tsp ground red pepper (sometimes I used cayenne pepper, sometimes note)
    1 1/3 c shredded low-fat extra-sharp Cheddar cheese (5 oz) I’ve also used other cheeses
    1/2 lb macaroni, cooked and drained

    2 tblsp dry bread crumbs
    2 tblsp grated Parmesan cheese
    (I’ve also played around and used corn meal.)

    Preheat oven to 350 and coat a medium baking dish with nonstick spray (or whatever)

    Place flour in medium saucepan. Gradually add milk, whisking constantly, until smooth.
    Add garlic, mustard, salt, and pepper.
    Place over medium heat.
    Cook, whisking constantly, for 7-8 minutes, or until thickened.
    Remove from heat.
    Remove garlic and discard.
    Add the Cheddar.
    Stir until smooth.
    Add the macaroni. Stir to mix.
    Pour into baking dish.

    Combine the topping in a small bowl.
    Sprinkle over the casserole.
    Bake for 15-20 minutes or until bubbling and lightly browned.

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