Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Definitely Not Boxed Mac N' Cheese


Let's face it!  In these chilly winter days, there's really nothing that satisfies quite like good old fashioned Macaroni and Cheese.  And for this edition of Tonia's Kitchen, we have an extra-special, extra-creamy version of this venerable classic for your comfort-food fulfilling pleasure!
Amy Traverso with Yankee Magazine stopped by with a fantastic recipe for Mac and Cheese, and let me tell you, it's pretty cheesy!  Amy says it's guaranteed to please, especially when the temperatures are bone-chilling.  Add 2 ounces of panchetta-style bacon for a smoky flavor that Amy says will make it extra-special.

  • 7 tablespoons salted butter, divided
  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 8-ounce package ziti, macaroni, or your favorite pasta
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch crushed red-pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 8 ounces (about 2 cups) extra-sharp Vermont cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 350°. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large, heavy skillet. Add panko and stir until coated; set aside.

Cook pasta according to package, stopping 2 minutes shy of suggested cooking time. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter in a large, heavy saucepan over low heat; whisk in flour until smooth. Cook, whisking continuously, about 1 minute; don't let mixture brown. Add milk gradually and cook over medium heat, whisking continuously, until mixture is thickened and bubbly, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; add salt, pepper, red-pepper flakes, mustard, and cheeses, whisking until melted.

Add pasta; then spoon mixture into a lightly greased 2-quart casserole or four lightly greased 2-cup baking dishes. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until bubbly.