“Mommy, I want mac and roni.”
Mac and roni.
It’s one of her cutest “wrong” words/phrases. Some of her other gems include, “hairplane” (airplane), “helidoctor” (helicopter), “chandaleered” (chandelier), and my all time favorite, “zucchini” (bikini). While the teacher in me wants to correct her, it’s simply too cute and I must let it continue for as long as humanly possible. I know I will be so sad when the day comes that she asks for macaroni and cheese on the airplane.
When Zoe turned three a couple of weeks ago, she obviously wanted her all time favorite mac and roni for dinner. So of course Zoe got her one and only box mac and roni, while mommy and daddy feasted on this.
A slightly more grown up version, yet still comforting and oh so delicious. I know, I know. It’s the new year and we should only be eating salads and green smoothies. Sorry. I don’t really follow those rules. Food is food and if I feel like eating mac and cheese in January I’m gonna!
You should too.
You can’t go wrong with mountains of cheese and noodles. And there’s nothin like having it homemade. I like using the panko crumbs instead of regular breadcrumbs in this recipe. It gives it a slightly lighter crust and overall texture.
Go ahead. I give you permission to make this mac and cheese. If it makes you feel better, serve a salad on the side.
- 1 pound penne (or any noodle of your choice)
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
- 4 1/4 cups whole milk, heated
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (more to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 8 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 8 ounces gruyere cheese, shredded
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta according to package, set aside. Meanwhile, melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly for about 3 minutes.
- 2) Stir in cayenne (if using). Whisk in hot milk, 1/4 cup at a time, whisking constantly until sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- 3) Turn off the heat and add the cheese one cup at a time until well incorporated into the sauce.
- 4) Combine the noodles with the cheese sauce, and pour into baking dish.
- 5) Melt the last 2 tablespoons of butter and combine with the panko crumbs. Spread the panko mixture over the top. Bake at 350 degrees until crust is golden brown and the interior is hot and bubbly. About 30 minutes.
Or don’t. I won’t tell.