We all have them: Comfort foods. They may calm us down, relax us, remind us of home, make us happy; Foods that make us literally lick the plate. For me it has to be my all time favorite, mac and cheese. Not the kind that is prepackaged, I am speaking of the homemade stuff. The kind that is baked in the oven till bubbly, gooey, and wonderfully thick and cheesy. It is extra cheesy and covered with a crunchy topping made from a mixture of panko, herbs, and cheese. My recipe follows and I hope it becomes a favorite for you too. But I want to know this: What foods comforts you? What do you my readers like to fill their tummies with after a day that needs comforting? Please comment below and let me know!
My Mac & Cheese print
- 1 lb rigatoni cooked and drained
- 5 TBSP butter
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- 8 oz sharp cheddar shredded
- 8 oz sharp white cheddar shredded
- 4 TBSP flour
- 4 cups 2% milk
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4-6 twists of the pepper grinder or 1/2 tsp pre-ground white pepper
- 1 tsp dry mustard
- 3/4 cup parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp dried thyme (if you have fresh it is better if so use 1 TBSP fresh)
- Preheat oven to 350º F. Butter 13x9x2 pan.
- In saucepan melt butter. Once melted remove 1 TBSP butter and mix together with panko, 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, and thyme. Set aside.
- Add flour to remaining butter in saucepan and cook (let it start to bubble then start timing) over medium heat for 1 minute.
- Add milk gradually whisking until rue is incorporated. Heat to boiling over medium heat whisking to prevent milk from scorching. Once milk/rue mixture starts to thicken cook to 2 minutes. Mixture should coat the back of a spoon and not run together when your finger is dredged through the center. (Use 2% for this 1% or skim really doesn't do it for me in this recipe, it is not as rich and does not get as thick)
- Finally add remaining cheeses to mixture. Don't overwhelm it, add the cheese in 3 additions, allowing each addition of cheese to melt before adding the next one. Stir in mustard powder and season with salt and pepper.
- Mix cooked pasta with sauce and pour into 13x9x2 prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes sprinkle top with panko topping and bake until browned.
I hope this will be added to my readers repertoire of comforting dishes. In the meantime let me know what it is you reach for when needing a little comfort from the kitchen.
Labels: cheese, easy, main dish, quick, recipe, stress free meal