Macaroni and cheese is one of the most versatile pasta dishes you can make. Most people seem to be satisfied with the kind the comes out of the blue box because they don’t realize just how easy it is to make it from scratch. This is also a dish that’s super easy to modify, you want it Italian style use mozzarella cheese, for something a bit fancier add some goat cheese.
This recipe is for the pasta and with cheese sauce, if you want to add meat or veggies to the pasta cook these items separately and don’t incorporate it until after the pasta has been mixed with the cheese.
One unconventional thing I do is using rotini pasta vs the traditional elbow; the reason is simple: surface area. While it’s traditional to use elbow shaped pasta its relatively small and doesn’t really carry sauce as greatly as rotini which has spirals allowing for more cheese to be carried in each bite.
This version also uses a roux of sorts but it’s not grainy due to the method used to make the roux.
- 1 pound rotini pasta
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 cups shredded cheese (for the version pictured I used a mix of sharp cheddar and a Mexican blend that included monetary jack, queso quesadilla and asadero)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- In a large stockpot boil 4 quarts lightly salted water and cook the pasta for 8 minutes. Drain the pasta when it’s done.
- When the pasta is almost done cooking in a small saucepan heat 1 cup of milk. While the milk is warming in a cup combine ½ cup of milk and the flour, mix until there are no lumps in the mixture. When the milk starts to steam slowly stir in the milk flour mixture, whisk the mixture until it becomes thick over medium low heat for about 3 minutes.
- When the milk mixture is thick add in the cheese ½ cup at a time and whisk together. When you have added all the cheese, taste the mixture to see if salt is necessary, depending on the type of cheese used you may find it not needed.
- Add half the pasta back to the stockpot and add in half the cheese sauce and combine, then slowly add in the remaining pasta and cheese sauce alternating until it’s fully combined. This is where you want to add in any extras like meat or veggies.