I always want to call mac and cheese a one-pot dinner, totally forgetting that it’s definitely not. It just really seems so easy? Boil pasta, make a simple bechamel, chuck in the oven: voila! easy mac and cheese.
I’m also one of those people who overdo the cheese sauce situation because it’s a pretty devastating affair to have a dry macaroni cheese. I mean, I’ve had it, and I didn’t die – but I’m all about cheese sauce. The saucier, the better.
Homemade mac and cheese can be a real bummer if not done right, and I know plenty of people who have attempted it and never bothered again because it looked anaemic and tasted like glue. I feel ya. That’s what happened to me the first few times, but I was determined to crack the mac code.
Find the rules thusly:
- You need sharp cheddar for this kind of carby comfort food, because everything else just gets a bit lost. Find the cheese with the strongest flavour you can and put about three different kinds in. Don’t be shy! Parmesan-style, gruyere, vintage cheese, the stronger the better.
- Same goes with the salt, you’re gonna need more salt than you think is ever necessary. It can get mighty bland if you’re a lax hand with the flavouring, and then you’re entering glue territory aka hell
- A smidge of mustard. Not so much that it tastes like a cheeseburger, but enough piquancy to get yourself going
Listen, I’m not gonna tell anyone if you make it in advance and then just pop it in the oven and call it a one-pot dinner. You can even freeze it for the ultimate in dinner organisation. Then leisurely take it out and have dinner on the table with almost-zero effort. I’m a fan.
If you enjoy a bit of a fancier mac and cheese, go right ahead to this sundried tomato version. Say hi for me!Print
Not the miserable mac and cheese that can strike when you first start making it from scratch – it’s rich, creamy, and every bit as good as the boxed stuff of dreams.
- 3 cups macaroni or other small pasta
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup plain flour
- 3 cups milk
- 2 cups grated sharp cheddar or tasty cheese (The stronger the better – or mix one cup sharp/tasty cheese with one cup grated parmesan)
- 1 Large bay leaf
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 cup grated sharp cheddar or tasty cheese (to top the dish)
Pre-heat your oven to 200C.
Cook pasta according to packet directions, but take it off the heat and drain about 3-4 minutes before the end of specified time. It will keep cooking in the oven.
In a large pot, melt the butter and flour over medium heat. Cook this off for about a minute.
Add the milk and bay leaf and stir regularly until the sauce bubbles and thickens.
Add the two cups grated sharp cheddar and stir until melted. Check for seasoning – you DO NOT want to be a wimp here. Remember it’s going to fill a large pot and it will be amongst some pretty plain pasta. If you’re experimenting with paprika and turmeric, now’s the time!
pour all the pasta into a large baking dish and pour sauce over. Mix, cover with breadcrumbs and the extra cup of cheese. If you’re anything like me, you’ll mix it around a bit and then… dot with butter. #sorrynotsorry
Bake for about 20 minutes until golden and bubbling, and cheese is bronwned on top
Keywords: mac and cheese, easy mac and cheese, macaroni and cheese, homemade mac and cheese, homemade macaroni and cheese