Baked Mac n Cheese

I am such a foodie. I love going out to fancy restaurants, trying new flavor combinations and seeing new techniques. But even the biggest foodie has their go to comfort food and mine is by far mac n cheese. 

Who doesn't love the cheesy goodness with a perfectly crunchy crust on top. I love how comforting and warm the dish is and I mean the CHEESE is what it is all about. 

Now anyone who has made mac n cheese from scratch knows the struggles. I have tried so many recipes that leave me with a grainy texture or flavorless noodles. Or what about the recipes that require about $50 worth of cheese? Mac n cheese is supposed to be a simple easy comfort food that doesn't require you to scavenge through the whole foods cheese department. 

But fear not mac n cheese lovers, I have found the perfect easy, simple and best of all cheap recipe that has won me over. 

 
IMG_3510.jpg
IMG_3511.jpg
 

What You'll Need

1/2 pound dried Macaroni

4 tbsp (1/2 stick) of Butter, divided

2 tbsp. Flour

1 cup Milk

2 cups loosely packed grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese

1 cup Panko Bread Crumbs

2 tbsp. grated Parmesan 

Salt and Pepper

 

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 375

2. Bring a medium sized pot of salted water to boil. Add the macaroni and cook for 5 min. 

3. Remove the pasta from the heat, drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside in a large bowl. 

4. In a medium sized sauce pan, heat half the butter over medium high heat. Add in the flour and stir frequently until smooth and lemon colored, about 3 min. 

5. Add in the milk, raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, cook stirring frequently until the sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes.

6. Remove the sauce from the heat and add in the cheddar, stirring until incorporated. Season with salt and pepper.

7. Mix in the noodles and stir to coat. Pour the mixture into a buttered 2 quart baking dish (I prefer a cast iron skillet, makes a nice crust) and sprinkle the bread crumbs and parmesan over the top. 

8. Melt the remaining 2 tbsp of butter, and add to the top of the macaroni. This helps the bread crumbs brown. Place in the oven until the top is browned and the sauce is melted about 20-25 minutes. 

Serve hot and enjoy!