This is THE BEST Mac and Cheese EVER.
It is so good. It has everything that Mac and Cheese should have: perfectly cooked macaroni, cheesy creamy sauce, a crispy top, everything. My husband had like 5 bowls of it. We finished an entire 9×13 pan.
Make this Mac and Cheese as a side dish for Thanksgiving this year. Everyone will love it.
This is our second Thanksgiving side dish recipe this week, and honestly it can’t get any better than delicious Mac and Cheese…
Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. Fill a pot with some salted water (it should taste like the ocean) and put that over high heat and bring it to a boil. Once your water is boiling, add your whole wheat macaroni and cook until al dente (where the pasta still has a bite to it).
While your water is heating up, place a large skillet over medium heat and melt three tablespoons of butter. Once it is melted, add three tablespoons of flour and whisk together to form a roux (a thickening agent). Cook the roux for about a minute, whisking constantly, to cook out the raw flour flavor.
Once your roux has been cooking for about a minute, add in three cups of 2% (if you want to make this Mac and Cheese even more decadent, you can add whole milk instead).
Bring this mixture to a simmer and let it cook until it has thickened slightly. You don’t want to take it too far because the cheese will thicken it a lot when you add that later.
As your sauce is doing it’s thing, grate 1 cup of aged Gouda cheese. You can buy nice cheeses like this for a really good deal at places like Sam’s Club and Costco.
Now for the fun part :).
Take your sauce off the heat and wait for it to cool down for about a minute, just so it stops simmering. Add your Gouda cheese along with 1 and 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese. Make sure you wait until it’s not simmering anymore or your sauce will be grainy. Also throw in 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and three grates of fresh nutmeg. Whisk it all together and watch the cheese melt and form the best sauce EVER.
It doesn’t get better than that.
Throw your macaroni into the sauce and stir until all the pasta is coated evenly. Make sure you taste it here and add any extra salt and pepper you think it needs.
Measure out 1/2 cup of Panko and drizzle in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add a little bit of salt and pepper and mix together so the breadcrumbs are evenly coated.
Put your Mac and Cheese into a 7×11 baking dish and smooth it out so it’s even across the top.
Then add another 1/4 to 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese. The measurement doesn’t have to be exact, just make an even layer across the top.
And now add your layer of Panko!
And then you’re done!
Here is the recipe:
- Half a box of whole wheat macaroni
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 3 cups 2% milk
- Salt and Pepper
- 3 "grates" fresh Nutmeg
- ½ cup Panko bread crumbs
- 1 and ½ cups reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese plus extra for the top
- 1 cup aged Gouda cheese
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
- Bring a pot of salted water (it should taste like the ocean) to a boil over high heat
- Once it is boiling, add your macaroni and cook until it is al dente (still has a bite to it)
- Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat and melt three tablespoons of butter
- Add three tablespoons of flour to your melted butter and whisk together to form a roux
- Let your roux cook for about a minute, whisking constantly
- Grate 1 cup of Gouda cheese
- Add your three cups of milk to the roux, whisk to combine, and bring to a simmer
- Let your sauce thicken slightly
- Remove your sauce from the heat and wait for it to stop simmering before you add your cheese
- Add your Gouda and Cheddar cheese, ¾ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Add three grates of fresh nutmeg and stir to combine
- Drain your macaroni and add it to your cheese sauce
- Taste and add any extra seasoning it needs
- Measure ½ cup of Panko into a small bowl and drizzle in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and a little salt and pepper
- Stir to combine until all the breadcrumbs are coated in olive oil
- Pour your Mac and Cheese into a 7x11 baking dish, and top with ¼ to ½ cup cheddar cheese and your Panko breadcrumbs
- Bake for 20 minutes
- Let cool for a few minutes before serving