I realized this weekend, as I was making a double batch of mac and cheese to bring Easter dinner, that I’ve never shared my go-to classic recipe for this cheesy, family favorite dish. It’s one of those dishes that I make so often (for nearly every holiday occasion) that I’ve never actually taken the time to measure everything out and write it down — until now! A combination of rich gruyere cheese, sharp cheddar, and savory parmesan cheese make the perfect coating for al dente pasta.I like to stick to the classics for my pasta shape: casserole sized elbows or medium shells work best. I also whisk in a little Dijon mustard, nutmeg, and garlic and onion powder for hints of flavor in my mac and cheese recipe. Once you’ve mastered this classic version, you can dress it up with a variety of mix-ins. I’ve made this before with peas and bacon stirred in; I’ve baked it with buttery panko breadcrumbs on top, and I’ve topped it with crumbled bbq potato chips to pair with pulled pork sliders. I’ve even given it a sprinkle of everything bagel seasoning on one occasion, and it was such a treat! Get the full recipe below, and pin it to have on hand for your next family event.

Classic Mac and Cheese.
Serves: 8 Servings
 
Ingredients
  • 8 cups cooked pasta (elbows or medium shells)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ Cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ⅓ Cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, plus extra for topping
  • 1 Cup Shredded gruyere cheese
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ Teaspoon nutmeg
  • Salt and black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Bring a pot of water with about a tsp. of salt to a boil. Cook pasta as directed; drain and set aside while reserving some of the pasta water for later.
  3. In a pot, melt the butter over medium heat and whisk in the flour, cooking until combined and thickened to create the roux base of the cheese sauce.
  4. Whisk in the heavy cream, Dijon mustard, and Parmesan cheese and cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes.
  5. As the sauce starts to thicken, lower the heat and stir in the shredded cheeses, onion powder, and garlic powder. Continue to stir until all the cheese is melted into the sauce. Stir in some of the reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce
  6. Remove from heat and fold in the cooked pasta; coat with the cheese sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Transfer the mac and cheese to a baking dish and top with the remaining cheddar cheese before baking at 350°F for 15-20 minutes; broil for the last minute for a crispy cheese crust.

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