What do you think about when you think of comfort food? I immediately think of mac & cheese. It is a dish loved by all ages and I’m usually one to order it when I see it on any menu. It is so delicious, satisfying, cheesy and comforting. I think you will love this super simple homemade recipe!Jump to Recipe
Mac & cheese is so versatile. It can be made with a variety of different flavors and herbs, different types of pasta, and can even include a variety of proteins such as bacon, lobster, pulled pork… I’m so hungry just thinking about it!! Although this popular dish isn’t the healthiest as it contains carbs and lots of dairy, it’s one of those meals that brings us a sense of comfort. I can’t think of a better way to make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside than consuming a bowl of mac & cheese.
Forget the box mac & cheeses! Homemade mac & cheese is such a game changer and I know you will LOVE this delicious and easy recipe. (Shout out to my husband, Mitch, for helping me design the BEST recipe. Love you babe!)
Mac & Cheese with Buttery Panko Topping
- Sauce Pot
- Large Pan
- Wooden Spoon
- Cast Iron Skillet
- 1 lb Large Elbow Macaroni
- 3 Tbsp Salted Butter
- 3 Tbsp All-Purpose Flour
- 2 sprigs Fresh Thyme
- 2 cups Whole Milk
- 2 cup Half & Half
- Pinch Freshly Grated Nutmeg (or 1/8th tsp)
- 4 Garlic Cloves smashed
- Pinch Ground Cayenne Pepper
- 3 cups Shredded Sharp White Cheddar
- 1 cup Shredded Parm
- Kosher Salt & Fresh Black Pepper to taste
- 1 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
- 2 Tbsp Salted Butter
- Begin by warming the whole milk and half & half in a sauce pot over medium heat.
- Steep the fresh thyme and smashed garlic in the milk mixture.
- In the meantime, make the roux by melting the 3 Tbsp butter in a large pot.
- Once the butter is melted, add the 3 Tbsp flour and stir with a wooden spoon until all of the flour is incorporated.
- Strain the thyme sprigs & garlic from the milk mixture and carefully pour into the roux.
- Whisk the milk & roux until the sauce is smooth.
- Add the ground cayenne to to the sauce.
- Using the microplane, grate a small amount of fresh nutmeg into the sauce. (OR use 1/8th tsp ground nutmeg)
- Fold both cheeses into the sauce and season with salt & pepper to taste. Set aside.
- Boil the noodles according to package directions. Drain.
- Fold the cooked noodles into the cheese sauce.
- If you wish to go a step further, preheat the broiler. Toast the panko breadcrumbs with butter in a pan.
- Pour the mac & cheese into an oven-proof dish or cast iron skillet.
- Sprinkle the toasted panko breadcrumbs over the mac & cheese and pop under the broiler until brown, about 3-5 minutes.
- Sprinkle freshly chopped parsley on top and voila!!