1 ½ c. panko bread crumbs4 Tbsp butter melted½ c. Parmesan cheese shredded1 tsp garlic powder
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a large 3-4 qt baking dish and set aside.
Cook the pasta according to directions, removing it from heat one minute before the al dente cooking time is done. Drain and place in a large bowl.
To make cheese sauce combine the shredded sharp cheddar cheese and Mozzarella cheese in a bowl, set aside.
Put butter in a large saucepan, dutch oven or stock pot. Whisk in flour over medium heat and continue whisking for about 1 minute until bubbly and golden.
Next, gradually whisk in the milk and half and half until smooth, making sure to continuously whisk the mixture. Continue to whisk until you see bubbles on the surface. Then continue cooking and whisking for another 2 minute. Add salt, pepper and garlic powder and whisk to combine.
Add two cups of the cheese mixture to the saucepan and whisk until smooth. Add another 1 ½ c. of cheese mixture and continue whisking until creamy and smooth. At this point the cheese sauce should be thick.
Stir in the cooked pasta and gently stir to combine making sure the pasta is fully coated with the cheese sauce.
Pour half of the mac and cheese into the prepared baking dish. Top with remaining 1 ½ c. of cheese mixture and then the remaining mac and cheese.
In a small bowl, combine panko crumbs, Parmesan cheese and melted butter for topping. Sprinkle over the top of the mac and cheese. Place in a preheated oven and bake until bubbly and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.
Cooking Tip: Be sure to reduce the pasta boiling time by one minute. That way, your pasta is perfectly al dente once it’s done baking in the sauce.
Cheese Tips: Shred your own for best results! The bagged kind usually has ingredients that keep it from clumping – this can make your sauce grainy and not as creamy. So, shred your own with a box grater or use a food processor with the grating blade to make it really easy.
Roux Tip: The key to making the roux (flour and butter mixture) is to cook it for a few minutes to cook off the raw flour taste. So, once it’s fully mixed, cooked it for a minute or so to fully cook the flour.
You can prepare the dish ahead and wait to bake it. Assemble the mac and cheese and cover it. Leave it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake it. Just keep in mind, the longer it sits the less creamy it will be when you bake it. This is because the pasta will absorb some of the sauce. For that reason, I don’t usually make it more than a few hours in advance.
You can use a lot of different kinds to make mac and cheese! Here are some that work well – try mixing and matching to make your own custom dish. Any kind of cheddar, Gruyere, Monterey Jack, Colby jack, Gouda, Fontina, and even soft kinds like goat cheese and cream cheese will work.
They will keep for two to three days in the refrigerator. The leftovers are never as good as when the dish is first made – they won’t be as creamy, but they’re still good! When you warm them up, it helps to add a splash of milk or half and half to loosen up the sauce.
Calories: 1180kcal (59%), Carbohydrates: 90g (30%), Protein: 56g (112%), Fat: 66g (102%), Saturated Fat: 40g (250%), Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 194mg (65%), Sodium: 1719mg (75%), Potassium: 531mg (15%), Fiber: 4g (17%), Sugar: 10g (11%), Vitamin A: 1938IU (39%), Vitamin C: 1mg (1%), Calcium: 1276mg (128%), Iron: 4mg (22%)
© Julie’s Eats & Treats