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Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Recipe adopted from Panera.


Despite the fact that I prefer baked macaroni and cheese to stove top, I felt it necessary that this site had a good stove top version for those who prefer otherwise.  And what better recipe to try for my 100th post than one from the popular Panera?  I can't say for sure how it matches up with the restaurant version since I've never tried it there, but it was pretty darn tasty.  As always, you can alter the recipe to your liking, but just make sure to keep the core ingredients the same (white roux + milk + sharp and creamy cheeses + mustard).  Also, you may have noticed that my picture used yellow American and cheddar cheese, rather than white, as Panera calls for.  No worries though; color is the only difference between these cheeses (flavor remains the same), so use whatever is available at your local grocery store or market.

INGREDIENTS:

16-ounces dry rigati pasta (small shells)

1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups whole milk

6 slices white American cheese, chopped
8 ounces shredded extra-sharp white Vermont cheddar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce

DIRECTIONS:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Salt and cook pasta to al dente.

For the sauce, melt the butter in a large sauce pan.  Whisk in the flour for a minute to create the roux.  Gradually add the milk while whisking constantly.  Cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens.  Remove from heat and slowly whisk in the cheeses.  Lastly, mix in the mustard, salt, and hot sauce.  Combine with cooked pasta.  Garnish with grated cheese, if desired.

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