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Homestyle Macaroni & Cheese
Creamy macaroni and cheese with a quick bechamel cream sauce.
I come from a family of southern women who love to cook so best believe, I am the biggest fan of a “custardy”, baked macaroni and cheese. Like the Southern-Style version on the blog that has reached 2k views! However, this recipe has become one of my favorite side dishes to perfectly pair with any main dish or enjoy on its own.
This homestyle macaroni dish is simple, doesn’t require 50 varieties of cheese, and has a very quick cook time. I like it because it is very similar to the famous macaroni available on the Chick-Fil-A menu. The most important part is the pasta and bechamel sauce! I prefer to use cavatappi, a tubular and corkscrew pasta, created to hold thicker sauces- like a cheesy bechamel. If you’re able to find a ridged Cavatappi- you’re in good business. Bechamel is a creamy Mother sauce made from white roux and milk. It is usually seasoned with salt and nutmeg. A Mother sauce is a classical French sauce that can create a group of “smaller sauces”. Bechamel, for example, can make a cream sauce, Mornay, or cheese sauce like we’re making in this recipe.
The bechamel sauce is very simple and requires a few of my favorite classic cheeses like mild cheddar, cheddar, or Colby jack, and a hint of grated parmesan. Before enjoying, we’ll top with freshly grated cheese and baked briefly for a crispy, cheesy crust.
What You Need:
Kosher salt, for salting water and to taste.
10 oz of dry Cavatappi Pasta
½ stick of Unsalted Butter
⅓ cup All-Purpose Flour
2 ½ cups of Whole Milk
1 ½ cup of Mild Cheddar Cheese, freshly grated
1 ½ cup of Colby Jack Cheese, freshly grated
1 cup of Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated
1 to 1 ½ tsp of Kosher Salt
½ tsp of Ground Mustard Seed
¼ tsp Granulated Garlic
¼ tsp Ground White Pepper, or Black Pepper
What to Do:
In a large pot, bring water to a boil in order to cook the pasta. Sprinkle about 3 tbsp of salt into the water or salt to taste.
Preheat your oven to 325F degrees and prepare your casserole dish by spraying it with non-stick spray or smearing butter or olive oil around the entire dish.
Once the water begins boiling, add in the pasta and stir so that it does not stick or clump to the bottom of the pot.
While the pasta is boiling- add the butter into a non-stick pan and cook until it has melted, add in 1/3 cup of flour and cook for 1 minute while whisking.
Continue to whisk and add in milk or cream until the bechamel sauce begins to thicken. It should be similar to a thick, creamy soup.
Add all of the cheese to a bowl and remove enough to cover the top of the dish for baking- this is about 1/3 of the bowl.
Add the leftover cheeses, ground mustard, kosher salt, granulated garlic, and white pepper to the bechamel . Stir until combined.
Add and fold in the drained pasta (never rinse pasta, we’ll discuss later!) until your pasta dish is ready for baking.
When preparing the dish for baking, I like to use a medium to small, circular baking dish. Spoon half of the pasta mixture into the dish and sprinkle in a layer of cheese. Spoon in the rest of the mixture and cover the entire top with the leftover cheeses.
Bake in the oven, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melting and golden brown.
After removing from the oven, let the dish settle for 5 minutes and serve warm. Don’t forget to tag me in your pictures at @elle.thefoodie!