Annika Eats

Ultimate Mac and Cheese

This Mac and cheese recipe is creamy, cheesy and comforting. It is a baked one pot wonder that is quick and easy to make but extremely delicious. 

Everyone loves a good Mac and cheese. What’s not to like, pasta draped in a cheese sauce that is saucy and heavenly. I have made a Mac and Cheese recipe on the Ninja Bake Along before and it was yummy but it was my lockdown version of Mac and cheese, where we use what we got to make it! This recipe a little decadent then that. It is saucy, creamy and absolutely delicious. 

A good Mac and cheese starts with a good cheese sauce. This is my go to cheese sauce recipe that makes for a yummy pasta once baked. I use a combination of 4 types of cheeses (this is not my Ultimate recipe for no reason) which add flavor and gooey melty texture that make for a very indulgent pasta bake. Speaking of which I have used macaroni pasta you can use any short pasta to make this recipe. It is simple as we make it one pot and serve it in the same pot. 

What ingredients do we need to make this Ultimate Mac and Cheese?

To make the sauce we need butter, flour, minced garlic, garlic powder, papyri powder, nutmeg powder, white pepper powder, milk, cream, mustard, yogurt, and cheese. We use milk cheddar, sharp cheddar, mozzarella and Gruyère. I use elbow macaroni to make the pasta and also save up some of the pasta liquid to adjust the consistency. I then add breadcrumbs, dried herbs and crushed black pepper on the top before baking it. 

What equipment do you need to make this Ultimate Mac and Cheese?

We need a large oven proof skillet. Ideally a cast iron or heavy bottom pan. I use a whisk and wooden spoon to make the sauce and stir the pasta into the sauce as well. We need to bake the Mac and cheese before serving it as well. 

What substitutes can you use to make this Ultimate Mac and Cheese?

I wouldn’t recommend any substitutes for this recipe and it doesn’t require much to make. But you can play around with the cheeses as the main point here is to ensure that you have a flavorful cheese and a good melting cheese. This can be you choice completely, I love the combination of Gruyère, mild cheddar cheese, sharp cheddar cheese and mozzarella. But you can use some parmesan cheese, any cheddar is a good option as it helps with flavor, you could gouda or smoked gouda as well, monterey jack, fontina and soft cheeses like brie or camembert etc also work well. In reference to pasta, I used a classic macaroni pasta but you can use elbow macaroni, penne, canneroni or any short pasta. 

How to make the Ultimate Mac and Cheese?

We start by preheating the oven to 200 ℃, we only need the top heat option here. Boil your pasta until al dente, I like to under cook the pasta as we will bake it later. Save some of the pasta liquid for later as well. In a small bowl mix the bread crumbs, dried herbs and crushed black pepper and set aside. We then start making a roux with the butter and flour, we brown the butter to add more flavor though. We then add the garlic powder, nutmeg powder, paprika powder and white pepper powder. Add the flour and cook through. Pour in the milk little at a time and whisk to ensure no lumps. Add the cream and the cheeses. I like to grate or chop my cheese up to help them melt along well. Once thickened, take it off the heat add the mustard, yogurt and stir. Add the boiled pasta and stir through. If you want it more saucy add the pasta water you saved. And through. Top the skillet with more cheese and sprinkle over the bread crumb mixture. Bake this for 10 mins until the top is golden and crispy. Serve while it is hot. 

How to the store the Ultimate Mac and Cheese?

With the leftovers you can store them in air tight containers for a couple of day but it needs to be reheated in the microwave before serving. 

Now that we have talked about how to make this Ultimate Mac and Cheese, let us get to the kitchen. Happy Cooking Ninjas!

Ultimate Mac and Cheese

This Mac and cheese recipe is creamy, cheesy and comforting. It is a baked one pot wonder that is quick and easy to make but extremely delicious.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Main Course, Side Dish, Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 6 People

Equipment

  • Skillet
  • Whisk
  • Wooden spoon

Ingredients
  

  • 500 gm Macaroni
  • 1/2 Pasta liquid from cooking
  • 5 tbsp Butter
  • 3 tbsp Flour
  • 3 Garlic cloves
  • 3 1/2 cups Milk
  • 1/2 cup Cream
  • 3 tbsp Yogurt
  • 1 tbsp Mustard
  • 320 gm Cheese mozzarella, milk cheddar, sharp cheddar, Gruyère
  • Salt to taste

Topping

  • 1/4 cup Mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup Breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp dried herbs
  • 1/2 tsp Crushed black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 200 ℃, we only need the top heat option here. Boil your pasta until al dente, I like to under cook the pasta as we will bake it later. Check the pac package instructions to make sure you don’t over cook it.
  • Save some of the pasta liquid for later as well. In a small bowl mix the bread crumbs, dried herbs and crushed black pepper and set aside.
  • We then start making a roux with the butter and flour, we brown the butter to add more flavor though. We then add the garlic powder, nutmeg powder, paprika powder and white pepper powder.
  • Add the flour and cook through. Pour in the milk little at a time and whisk to ensure no lumps. Add the cream and the cheeses. I like to grate or chop my cheese up to help them melt along well. Once thickened, take it off the heat add the mustard, yogurt and stir.
  • Add the boiled pasta and stir through. If you want it more saucy add the pasta water you saved. And through. Top the skillet with more cheese and sprinkle over the bread crumb mixture. Bake this for 10 mins until the top is golden and crispy. Serve while it is hot.

Notes

  • Do not over boil the pasta.
  • If the Mac and cheese looks too dry add more pasta liquid to make it saucy

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