As you know, mac & cheese is my ultimate comfort food and I'm constantly trying new recipes. Last week I discovered this recipe for the best classic mac & cheese I've ever had. The sauce is thick and cheesy and has a deeper flavor than other versions I've tried. It makes a TON so plan on leftovers! And this one actually re-warms nicely in the microwave. All around it's a win. Make it on some cold night this fall and you won't be disappointed!
Classic Mac & Cheese
for the topping
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
salt & pepper
for the pasta
1 lb pasta shapes
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
6 Tbsp flour
2 1/4 cups chicken broth
3 1/2 cups milk
8 oz colby jack cheese, shredded
16 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
salt & freshly ground black pepper
To make the topping, melt the butter in a medium bowl in the microwave. Add the panko crumbs to the melted better, and stir until coated in the butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to cool.
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the pasta to the water and cook just until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Drain the pasta and leave in the colander.
Return the pot to the heat. Melt the butter over medium-high heat. Stir in the garlic, dry mustard, and cayenne, cooking just until fragrant, about 30-60 seconds. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until golden, about 1 minute. Whisk in the chicken broth and milk and continue to heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture bubbles and thickens slightly, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the cheeses, whisking until completely melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir the drained pasta into the cheese sauce.
Pour the pasta and cheese mixture into a lightly greased 9x13" baking dish. Sprinkle with the bread crumb topping. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the bread crumbs are golden brown. (You may want to place a baking sheet on the rack underneath the baking dish to catch any sauce that bubbles over.) Serves 8-10.
source: recipe slightly adapted from annie's eats, originally from The Best Make-Ahead Recipe