This recipe is a great one because you can enjoy this dish as a Creamy Stovetop Mac & Cheese or a perfectly Baked Mac & Cheese, with a few extra steps. When you are looking for the ultimate comfort food, don't not search further, you have arrived.
16 oz elbow pasta noodles
1 tablespoon salt
6 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 can evaporated milk
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 teaspoon dijon mustard (sub dry mustard or mustard powder)
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
4 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded
1 cup parmesan, shredded
1 cup bread or panko crumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper (sub cayenne pepper for more heat)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add the salt and pasta. Use the cooking time on the package, but decrease it by 2 minutes. For example: if it says to cook it for 9 - 11 minutes, you will cook it for 7 - 9 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375˚
In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until combined; lowering the heat to medium-low. Cook the flour and butter, occasionally whisking, for at least two minutes, do not let the flour burn. While the flour and butter cook, add the evaporated milk and broth to a microwave-safe bowl. Place in a microwave and heat for 4 minutes until hot but not boiling.
After the roux (flour and butter mixture) has cooked, slowly whisk in your warm evaporated milk and broth, then add the dijon and white pepper, whisking until well combined. Turn off the heat. Add the shredded cheddar and whisk until slightly melted, then add the pepper jack and parmesan cheese and mix. Carefully add your pasta to the cheese sauce and combine. You can enjoy this dish as a stovetop mac and cheese or add one more step to take it up a notch, turning it into the ultimate comfort food.
Topping: Prepare your baking dish with olive oil and pour cheesy noodles into the dish. Spread the topping over evenly over the top of the macaroni and cheese. Bake at 375˚ for 20 minutes until you reach bubbly perfection, and the bread crumbs have toasted. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
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