{Recipe} The Ultimate Mac & Cheese

I love macaroni & cheese. I love it so much that I would request it as my final meal if I ever had the option of requesting a final meal. Other people discuss things like this, right?  I made this recipe last year for our first Friendsgiving & forgot to take pictures. What a surprise. I had multiple requests to make this dish again & who am I to deprive my friends? Selfishly, I was so thrilled at the chance to make it again so I could take pictures! 
In terms of macaroni recipes, this one is relatively easy.  The hardest & most annoying part is all the constant whisking, but that's really it! The original creator of this recipe (found here) recommends using only freshly grated cheese.  Now, I don't know about you, but grating 6 cups of cheese sounds miserable.  So I went with already grated, but bought a fancier shredded cheese...it's all about compromise people. You can mix & match what cheeses you use; this year we used sharp cheddar & white cheddar. I can't remember what I used last year (helpful, I know) but our grocery store doesn't have a ton of the nicer cheeses already grated. Perhaps I'll get off my lazy ass & make this dish some other time with freshly grated cheese.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Many macaroni recipes can be prepped ahead of time, refrigerated & then heated up when it's time to eat.  The original chef STRONGLY recommends not prepping ahead of time. So this was the very last thing I made so we could eat it fresh!

Serves: 6-8 as main dish or 8-10 as a side
Cook time acc to That Which Nourishes: 35 mins
Cook time acc to me: 45 mins - 1 hour
How difficult was this for me? Not bad AT ALL!

1 lb pasta of your choice (I used large elbow)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
4 cups milk (I used whole since I had it on hand from another recipe)
6-7 cups freshly shredded sharp cheddar or white cheddar  (I used both)
1/2 tbsp kosher salt
1/2 tbsp pepper (I used 1/4 since I'm not big on pepper)
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs


In a large stock pot, boil pasta in salted water according to package directions. 
Drain & set aside
While noodles are cooking, in a large sauce pan over medium heat, melt 1/2 cup butter
Sprinkle in flour & whisk while cooking for 2-3 mins.
Add in Salt & Pepper.
Slowly pour in the 4 cups of milk while continuously whisking until smooth
Bring mixture to a low boil until thickened. Do not stop whisking (this is the annoying part)
 It will take 6-8 mins to thicken up. Don't be surprised if nothing is happening & then all of a sudden it just thickens. This is normal!
Once sauce has thickened up, remove from heat.
Grease a 9x13 baking dish & add pasta
Over the top of the pasta, add the 7 cups of cheese.
Pour the hot sauce over the top of the cheese & let sit for a few minutes as the cheese melts.
At this point, pre-heat your oven to 325 F
While the cheese is melting, in a small sauce pan, melt  2 tbsp of butter over medium heat.
Add in bread crumbs & stir continuously until the bread crumbs turn golden brown. 
Be careful not to let the bread crumbs burn, they will cook quickly!
Once crumbs are golden, remove from heat.
Very carefully stir the pasta, sauce & cheese.  
Top with bread crumbs.
Bake for 12-15 minutes. Serve immediately!
BRB I'm going to go eat some right now.

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