Macaroni and cheese is one of my favorite comfort foods. I grew up eating southern baked macaroni and cheese loaded with an obscene amount of cheddar cheese, but this creamy white macaroni and cheese is every bit as flavorful. I was thrilled to find this recipe up for grabs on the Panera Bread website and couldn't wait to make it at home.
My son and I love eating lunch at Panera, and this mac n cheese is one of our favorite items on the menu. This stove top mac n cheese is creamy with a hint of Dijon and plenty of white cheese. Although it is not listed as an ingredient, I love to add a tiny dash of nutmeg to white sauces. It adds an incredible depth of flavor. There is nothing like simple comfort food to bring a smile to your face:-)
Adapted by Head Chef Dan Kish
1 (16-ounce) package of rigati pasta (or other small pasta shells)
¼ cup butter
½ cup all-purpose flour
2½ cups milk or cream
6 slices white American cheese, chopped
1 cup (8 ounces) shredded extra-sharp white Vermont cheddar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon hot sauce
1. Prepare pasta according to package directions.
2. Melt butter over low heat. Whisk in flour and cook 1 minute, whisking constantly.
3. Gradually whisk in milk (or cream); cook over medium heat, whisking until mixture thickens and bubbles. Remove from heat.
4. Add cheeses, mustard, salt, and hot sauce, stirring until cheese melts and sauce is smooth.
5. Stir in pasta and cook over medium heat for 1 minute (or until thoroughly heated).
Serves 4 to 6