This is a silky and creamy mac & cheese and it doesn’t necessarily have to be baked. If you prefer creamy right out of the pot – then go for it! If you love a baked crispy topping, then quickly brown it off with your favorite topping. I love panko crumbs, Ritz crackers, potato chips, French’s onion pieces, bacon & crushed saltines drizzled with butter….the list goes on!
A word about mac & cheese varieties. If you’re a purist, stick to the classic béchamel with sharp cheddar, salt & pepper. If you’re a kid at heart, add some cut up hot dogs. If you love to experiment, add caramelized onion or shallot, sautéed mushrooms in wine and top with crispy bacon. Maybe add broccoli, or turn this into a buffalo mac & cheese by adding blue cheese, chicken and Frank’s buffalo sauce. All of those sound good to me!
Click here for the Classic Bechamel sauce that’s needed to serve as your base.
And this is the quick video. Cheers to your mac & cheese!
Classic Mac & Cheese
- 8 to 10 ounces pasta cooked al dente. Pick a pasta shape that holds a sauce well. Save 1 cup of pasta water (you might not need it but save it anyways).
- 2 cups bechamel sauce
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups of shredded cheese – I like sharp cheddar and a melting cheese like Guyrer
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard or SPIKE
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Topping of choice
- Turn on the oven to 375F.
- In a sauce pan heat the béchamel and gradually add the cheddar cheese. Avoid dumping it all in at once or the sauce could ‘break’ causing a gritty sauce. Once the cheese sauce is melted and creamy, season with the dry mustard, salt & pepper. Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray and add your al dente pasta to the dish. Top with the sauce and carefully combine, add some pasta water if needed to thin the sauce. Sprinkle toppings of choice and bake 10 to 15 minutes or less until the topping is golden brown.