A homemade version of the famously cheesy macaroni dish.
Noodles & Company™ is known for mastering flavorful pasta dishes from all over the world, so for simple, classic mac and cheese to be one of their most famous menu items tells you there is something truly special about that bowl of pasta.
If there isn’t a location near you, or you just want to try making it at home, here’s my go-to method for making a super-cheesy batch of creamy mac and cheese every time.
For starters, you’ll need pasta! I like just plain elbow macaroni, but lots of smaller pasta shapes would work. Just don’t use any long spaghetti-like noodles, and you’ll be good.
Cook the pasta in salted water and then drain it when it’s al dente. If you aren’t finishing the macaroni and cheese right away, rinse the pasta with cold water to stop the cooking process and make sure the noodles don’t stick together. Don’t worry! The hot cheese sauce will warm up the pasta later.
Speaking of cheese, you’ll need a LOT of it for this recipe. You’ll want about a pound just for the cheese sauce, and you’ll also want a cup or two of finely grated cheese for piling on top at the end (I use a microplane grater for mine). The cheese shreds are so fine, they’ll melt into your noodles really quickly.
Okay. Let’s talk cheese sauce. This is a really basic one. (If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?)
Start by melting your butter in a large pot over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and continue to cook it until it turns a light tan color.
Then slowly whisk in your warm milk in 1/2-cup batches. Work slowly to make sure you don’t get any lumps. Once all the milk is added the sauce should thicken and be really smooth. Turn the heat down to low at this point and heat the sauce until it’s steaming hot, but not boiling.
Then add all that beautiful cheese! Of course, you could add other cheeses if you wanted. Gruyere is always a great cheese sauce cheese, but just cheddar works great also!
Stir this together and season it with salt and pepper and you’ll be in business.
Stir in the pasta, divide the cheesy goodness between bowls, and top each serving with AT LEAST one handful of finely grated cheese!