There’s nothing like comfort food on a cold, snowy night, right?? We got zonked with a huge storm yesterday. After spending a couple hours clearing out the snow we were starving and cold! I whipped up a pot of my easy stovetop macaroni and cheese to feed the hungry troops.
Cook The Pasta
Bring a large pot of water to boil. add 1 lb box of elbows or medium shells (any small tubular pasta will work!). I’ve had this oval pasta pot for over 5 years and love it! (it’s also on sale as I write this)
In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt 6 tablespoons of butter. Slowly stir in 6 tablespoons of all-purpose flour. Add 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, & 1 1/2 teaspoons ground mustard.
Whisk constantly for 1-2 minutes until mixture becomes a golden color.
Slowly pour in 5 cups of milk. Whisking to prevent lumping.
Bring it to a boil. The base needs to come to a boil in order to thicken up.
Turn heat down to medium-low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until it becomes thick and creamy.
Turn off the heat. Add 4-5 cups good quality shredded cheddar (my son’s love it extra cheesy and I use 5 cups but 4 cups is delicious too). Stir until all the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth.
I highly recommend shredding your own cheddar cheese when making mac and cheese. The pre-shredded store bought cheese has a coating on it so it doesn’t melt as creamy; it will still taste fine though.
Then pour that incredible cheesy sauce over your pasta!
Tip: I save about a cup of the cheese sauce if I know we aren’t going to be eating the entire pot for dinner and there will be leftovers. When we reheat the mac and cheese the next day I add some of the extra sauce.
One of the best things about oven baked mac and cheese is that crunchy topping…right?? Just because we are making it stovetop doesn’t mean we have to miss out!
To make a quick crispy topping, melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a skillet. Add 3/4 cups seasoned bread crumbs. Stir until the crumbs turn golden brown and look toasted.
Keep your eye on it because it can go from toasted to burnt very quickly.
You can either just sprinkle the breadcrumbs onto the tops of the individual servings or pour the entire pot of macaroni and cheese into a large casserole and spoon the breadcrumbs over it and serve family style.
Dinner Is Served!
- 1 lb box of pasta (elbows or medium shells)
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 5 cups milk
- 4-5 cups shredded cheddar (see notes)
- 3/4 cups seasoned breadcrumbs
- 3 tablespoons butter
- Bring large pot of water to a boil and add pasta; cook until al dente. When cooked, drain and return to pot.
- Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in large saucepan over medium heat.
- Gradually add the flour; whisk until smooth.
- Add salt, pepper, and ground mustard; whisk to combine.
- Continue whisking mixture until golden brown (1-2 minutes)
- Slowly pour in the milk. Whisking to prevent lumps from forming.
- Let mixture come to an boil, it needs to come to a boil for it to thicken.
- Turn heat to med-low; continue to cook, stirring occasionally until thick and creamy.
- Turn off heat. Stir in the cheese until melted and smooth.
- Pour cheese mixture over your pasta and combine.
- For the topping, melt 3 tablespoons in a skillet and add breadcrumbs. Stir until the crumbs turn golden brown and toasty. Spoon over individual servings or pour mac and cheese into a casserole dish and sprinkle over entire dish.
I suggest shredding your own cheddar cheese when making mac and cheese. The pre-shredded cheese has a coating on it that makes it a little more difficult to melt smoothly.
If you have a Trader Joe's nearby, I love to use their cheddar & gruyere mélange cheese for this recipe.