Simple IS better.
I've long been on a quest to nail it. The perfect mac and cheese, one that is CHEESY yet not gooey or oily. I tried a ton of recipes, a few "just whip it up" methods and they've been ok, and in one instance I came REAL close. Thing is, I didn't want a "bougie" mac and cheese that required Gouda or other nutty cheeses such as Gruyere or whatever else I tossed into my five-cheese mac. Don't get me wrong though! That Five-Cheese mac is rather impressive for those with a refined palette of love of all things complex. I'm not that person. I like simple. Finally, after a few weeks of reading and two weekends of taste-testing cheeses, I got it. THE ultimate mac and cheese, I call it Simple Mac. Don't question me on this one, just get to it! Enjoy #MangoEats!
- I found two cheeses that I love, one at DeKalb Farmer's Market and this one from Whole Foods
- ½ lb dried elbow noodles
- 3 tbsp. AP flour
- 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 2 cups whole milk (Don't skimp on this!)
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/3 c heavy cream
- ¼ tsp ground white pepper
- ½ tsp dry mustard
- 8 oz. (~3c) of your favorite coarsely grated extra-sharp cheddar (DO IT YOURSELF, NO BAGGED CHEESE)
- 1 oz (¼ c) grated parmesan
- ½ cup panko (PLAIN)
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- 1 oz. (¼) finely grated parmesan
- ½ tbsp. EVOO
- 1 small/medium garlic clove, minced
- 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
- SLOWLY add the milk while whisking constantly to remove any large lumps. Continue to whisk until smooth and thick on medium-high heat. Add the heavy cream while continuing to whisk until smooth. Increase the heat to medium-high to allow the mixture to simmer and thicken, about 5 minutes. Season the mixture while it thickens and taste as you go.
- Once your mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, add the cheeses in 3 batches, waiting until the previous batch has melted completely before adding more. Add the cheddar first, Parmesan last, remove from heat.
- Add the cooked pasta noodles to the sauce, stirring with a wooden spoon. Don't panic if there’s more sauce than pasta, you're going to spoon it into the baking dish, and it will bubble up through the breadcrumb topping as it cooks.
- Cover completely and evenly with breadcrumb topping and place in the oven for 18-23 minutes.
- Once complete, allow to set and cool for 15 minutes before serving.
Please note all of the text in bold or parentheses. I followed those tips precisely as I found them to be consistent across all of my resources. I wish I had better photos to share, but this was a HIGHLY requested recipe (on a Monday night no less!). Please make it and share your results tagging it #MangoEats, I'm excited to see how well you guys do!