I should call this Mary Poppins Mac and Cheese. It is “practically perfect in every way”. I combined two recipes and changed a few ingredients. The cheese sauce is based off of Martha Stewart’s “Perfect Mac and Cheese”. The topping is based off a Roasted Garlic Mac and Cheese by Mountain Mama Cooks. I believe my long time search for the perfect Mac and Cheese is finally over. It has been years. I could never quite get the cheese sauce smooth enough, or cheesy enough. I believe this accomplishes both.
You will need:
– 6 tbsp. unsalted butter
– 5 ½ cups milk
– ½ cup flour
– 2 tsp. kosher salt
– ½ tsp. garlic powder
– ½ tsp. black pepper
– ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
– 4 ½ cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (this is about a 1 lb. block)
– 2 cups grated gruyere (about ½ lb.block)
– 1 lb. elbow macaroni
For the topping:
– ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
– ⅓ cup parmesan cheese
– 2 tbsp. butter, melted
– 6 oz. pancetta, cooked and drained on paper towel
– Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook macaroni 1 minute less than package indicates (it will continue cooking in the oven). When cooked, drain and rinse the macaroni with cold water to stop the cooking and remove the starch from the pasta.
– Combine the panko, parmesan, and butter in a bowl and set aside
– Pre-heat oven to 375° if baking right away, and butter a 3 quart casserole dish
– In a saucepan, heat milk over low heat
– In a large dutch oven, melt 6 tbsp. of butter over medium heat
– Add flour to make a roux and cook 2 minutes
– Slowly whisk in the warm milk
– Continue to whisk until the mixture thickens (about 10 minutes)
– When mixture reaches a glue-like consistency, remove from the heat and add the salt, garlic powder, black pepper, cayenne, cheddar and gruyere.
– Add the macaroni
– Pour macaroni and cheese into the buttered casserole dish
– Top with the panko/parmesan mixture
– Add the cooked pancetta to the top
– Cover and freeze/refrigerate or bake 30-45 minutes until the top is golden brown.