- 3 pounds dry pasta (macaroni, penne, rigatoni, etc), cooked (I like it slightly more cooked than al dente.) and cooled
- 3 pounds extra sharp cheddar, 1/2 grated, 1/2 cut into 1” cubes
- 1 quart milk, warmed
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cups unsalted butter
- pinch nutmeg ground (optional)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup grated cheese (Parmesan, pecorino, aged gouda)
- 1/3 cup butter, cut into small pats
- 1 cup plain bread crumbs
- Preheat to 350°.
- Have pasta ready in a large bowl.
- Prepare the baking pans by greasing thoroughly with butter.
- Prepare the béchamel by melting the butter in a medium sauce pan, then adding the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. It will make a paste and keep stirring and cooking it for about two minutes. Do not brown it or burn it.
- Stir in the warm milk and continue to stir until the sauce thickens and comes to a boil. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper and continue to cook for another few minutes to let the sauce thicken a little and cook off the floury taste. Remove from heat. Add the grated and cubed cheddar cheese and stir until the cubed cheese is 1/2 melted. If the cheese doesn’t melt, you can return the pan to the stove on a low flame, stirring constantly to keep the sauce from scorching.
- Add cheese sauce to the pasta and mix thoroughly. Press the pasta mixture into the pans and top with the bread crumbs, grated cheese and dot with the butter pats.
- Bake for 30 minutes. The dish is ready when the top is browned and the mac ’n’ cheese is bubbly.
I’ve been know to mix two or three different types of pasta in my make and cheese to play with the texture a little. I like to mix small macaroni and penne and the curly macaroni.
To freeze it, cut the Mac ’n’ Cheese into pieces, wrap them individually in waxed paper and put them in a large freezer bag.