As a child, Mom often made spaghetti with bolognese sauce; she wasn’t a fan of mac n cheese. On the occasional night where it was just my older sister and I, we’d excitedly whip out a box of store-bought Macaroni and Cheese from the pantry and call it dinner.
This day and age, I prefer my mac n cheese made from scratch, rather than a box. This doesn’t mean the meal is any harder to make than it used to be, but it definitely does mean I can customize it each time to my own preference.
For example, I’ve made this mac n cheese with gruyere cheese and truffle oil before when I’ve felt a little fancy. Most of the time, I make this mac n cheese the old-fashioned way, with some quality cheddar cheese.
The parmesan crumb topping is one of my favorite parts about this mac n cheese because it provides a pleasant contrast in texture.
Plus, the topping tastes delicious after the toasted bread crumbs are mixed with some melted butter and parmesan. How can anyone go wrong there?
Even Mom approves of this mac n cheese, which says a lot! As the weather begins to cool down, I look forward to putting this meal on the dinner menu more and more.
- 4 oz tubettini pasta
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, your choice: sharp, aged, etc.
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp cayenne
- 1/8 tsp smoked paprika, or regular paprika, optional
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 cup panko crumbs
- 1/2 tbsp salted butter
- 1 tsp grated parmesan
- pinch of salt
- parsley to garnish
- Cook the pasta in a medium saucepan with a heavy pinch of salt, according to the package instructions. Drain and run under cool water to prevent sticking. Temporarily set aside.
- Transfer your saucepan back over to the stove over medium heat and add the unsalted butter. Once the butter has melted, add the flour and stir for a minute to form a paste-like mixture.
- Pour in the milk and continue to warm until steam arises from the milk. Add in the cheese and stir until the cheese has melted and the mixture is smooth.
- Add the nutmeg, cayenne, and paprika (for color) to the sauce and continue gently stirring the mixture as it thickens up a bit.
- Add the pasta to the pan with the sauce, and stir everything together until all the pasta noodles are coated in the sauce. Divide the pasta among one medium small, or two small, oven-safe casserole/soup-type dishes. Temporarily set aside.
- Melt the salted butter in the microwave, then toss with the panko crumbs and grated parmesan. Sprinkle this mixture evenly on top of the pasta.
- Set the pasta in the oven under the broiler just until the crumbs are golden and crisp. Make sure to keep a careful eye on the pasta the entire time as this will occur rapidly. Garnish the finished pasta with fresh chopped parsley.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 2 Servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 581