Mac and cheese is always a favorite, and it’s easy to make from scratch if you just know the basics of preparing a sauce. If you’ve ever tried melting cheese into milk, you know that you get nothing but a greasy, clumpy mess. Instead, start with a roux — a combination of fat and flour that you cook. I’ll use whatever fat is handy. Canola oil or butter are favorites because I always have them on hand. Whisk together your flour and canola oil, cook for a minute, then slowly whisk in milk and you’ve got the perfect base for a glorious cheese sauce. Simply add your cheese, whisk until smooth, and add your macaroni. How easy is that? It’s worth the effort–I promise!
Creamy Mac and Cheese
Makes 8 servings (1 cup each)
- 2 cups elbow macaroni
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups milk
- 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese*
- 1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese*
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
In pot of boiling water, lightly salt water and add macaroni; cook until tender, following package directions. Drain and set aside.
In saucepan, heat 3 tablespoons canola oil over medium heat. Stir in flour until smooth, then cook for one minute. Add garlic powder, paprika, and dry mustard and whisk until smooth. Slowly add milk to roux slowly, stirring constantly. Stir in cheeses. Cook over low heat until cheese is melted and sauce has thickened. Pour sauce over macaroni, mix and add to large, greased casserole dish, or small, individual dishes.
In a skillet, add 2 tablespoons canola oil over medium heat. Add bread crumbs cook for a minute until brown and toasty. Spread over macaroni and cheese. Bake at 350-degrees about 30 minutes. Serve.
* You can substitute 3 cups Mexican cheese blend for the Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheeses.