It seems like every time I post a photo to Instagram of my homemade mac and cheese, I get asked for the recipe. Well, I’m feeling generous today, so your request has been granted. Enjoy my homemade mac and cheese on this Foodie Friday. Looking for a wine to pair with this? Try a nice Chardonnay such as Chateau Ste. Michelle.
In a large pot, cook pasta as directed until al dente. Drain, rinse, and set aside.
While the pasta is cooking, heat up the butter in a large saucepan*. As the butter melts, add the flour and whisk until a roux forms. Slowly stir in milk. Add paprika, black pepper, and onion flakes. Bring to a slight boil and let simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Sauce should thicken a bit as it cooks.
Turn off the heat and add 3 cups of the grated cheese. Stir until cheese is about melted. Add the pasta to the milk and cheese sauce mix. Stir until the pasta is all covered; you should be able to hear the elbows filling up with liquid as your stir.** Once you’ve mixed the pasta and sauce, add the remaining cup of cheese and gently fold it in. Sprinkle the top of the mix with the breadcrumbs.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, uncovered. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
A few notes:
If you don’t have whole wheat flour, regular flour is fine. You can use any milk, but the higher the fat content in your milk, the richer and thicker your sauce will be.
Back East, we would always use Cabot Creamery Extra Sharp or Sharp Cheddar cheese exclusively for my homemade mac and cheese. Here in Oregon, we can’t get Cabot, so I’ve been making it with Tillamook Sharp Cheddar.
No Italian breadcrumbs? Just use Planko instead.
*If you have an oven-safe saucepan, you can use that. Otherwise, you will need to transfer the ingredients to an oven-safe baking dish after you’ve added the pasta to the sauce mix.
**Here is where you transfer the pasta and sauce mix to an oven-safe baking dish.