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Copycat Noodles & Company™ Mac and Cheese

  • Prep 15 min
  • Total 30 min
  • Servings 6

This popular restaurant is known for its extra-cheesy Wisconsin mac and cheese, topped with a glorious pile of shredded cheddar. Here’s how you can nail it at home! ...MORE+ LESS-

Macheesmo Macheesmo
October 3, 2016

Ingredients

1
pound (16 ounces) uncooked elbow macaroni
1/4
cup unsalted butter
1/4
cup all-purpose flour
2
cups whole milk, warm
1
pound (16 ounces) cheddar cheese, grated
1
teaspoon kosher salt
1
teaspoon black pepper
Finely grated cheddar cheese (for topping)

Steps

Hide Images
  • 1
    Cook elbow macaroni in salted water until al dente (cook time will vary; use guide on back of pasta box). Drain pasta and set aside. If you aren’t going to use the macaroni immediately, rinse it with cold water after draining.
  • 2
    In medium-sized pot, add butter and flour and whisk together over medium heat to form a roux. Cook until the flour reaches a light tan color.
  • 3
    Next, add warm whole milk to the roux 1/2 cup at a time. Pour in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly in order to avoid lumps and ensure ingredients are well incorporated before adding the next 1/2 cup. Repeat until all milk has been added.
  • 4
    Reduce heat to low and cook mixture until it is steaming hot (but not boiling). Then stir in the grated cheddar cheese and season with salt and pepper.
  • 5
    Stir cooked macaroni into the cheese sauce. Divide into bowls and garnish with a handful (or two) of finely grated cheddar cheese for extra cheesiness!

Expert Tips

  • If you want to add a crunchy element, top with toasted breadcrumbs. To make: melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a small skillet over low heat. Add 1/2 cup breadcrumbs and cook until browned.

Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 Serving
Calories
780
Calories from Fat
350
% Daily Value
Total Fat
39g
60%
Saturated Fat
22g
109%
Trans Fat
1 1/2g
Cholesterol
110mg
36%
Sodium
1220mg
51%
Potassium
270mg
8%
Total Carbohydrate
73g
24%
Dietary Fiber
4g
16%
Sugars
6g
Protein
34g
% Daily Value*:
Vitamin A
25%
25%
Vitamin C
0%
0%
Calcium
60%
60%
Iron
15%
15%
Exchanges:
4 Starch; 0 Fruit; 1/2 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Skim Milk; 0 Low-Fat Milk; 1/2 Milk; 0 Vegetable; 0 Very Lean Meat; 0 Lean Meat; 2 1/2 High-Fat Meat; 2 1/2 Fat;
Carbohydrate Choice
5
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
More About This Recipe
  • 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!
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