mac and cheese
this mac and cheese recipe is creamy and cheesy with a light crunchy topping of breadcrumbs and gooey melted cheese. the recipe includes both stove top mac n cheese and baked mac and cheese.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Servings: 3 to 4
for cooking macaroni or pasta
- 1 cup elbow macaroni or shell pasta - 100 grams or 3.5 ounces
- 4 cups water or 1 litre + ½ teaspoon salt
for mac and cheese sauce
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour (maida)
- 2 cups cold milk or 500 ml cold milk
- ½ teaspoon crushed black pepper (kali mirch powder) or as required
- 1 to 2 pinch grated nutmeg or nutmeg powder (jaiphal powder)
- 150 grams or 5.3 ounces - mix of shredded cheddar, mozzarella and gouda cheese or any cheese, about 1.25 cups of shredded cheese
- ⅛ teaspoon salt or as required
for bread crumb mixture
- 1 teaspoon butter, melted
- ⅓ cup breadcrumbs
toppings for mac and cheese
- ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon crushed black pepper (kali mirch powder) or as required
- 2 to 3 tablespoons shredded cheese
cooking macaroni or pasta
cook the elbow pasta as per the instructions on the package till they are al dente. i first heated 4 cups of water water + ½ tsp salt to a vigorous boil and then added the pasta.
cook them till they are al dente or just cooked. they should not get too soft or mushy or break.
drain them in a colander or strainer.
now grease a baking pan with some softened butter. skip this step if you do not plan to bake the mac n cheese.
making bread crumbs topping
in a microwave safe bowl, melt 1 tsp butter. then add ⅓ cup breadcrumbs.
with a spoon mix the breadrcumbs with the melted butter very well. keep aside.
making sauce for mac and cheese
heat 3 tbsp butter in a thick bottomed sauce pan on a low flame. also preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius/390 degrees fahrenheit.
the butter should heat up well. then add 2 tbsp all purpose flour.
using a wired whisk stir the flour quickly as soon as you add it.
keep on stirring so that no lumps are formed.
the frequent stirring helps the flour to cook evenly.
you will see the flour frothing and bubbling up while stirring.
saute the flour till you get a nice cooked aroma from the flour and a pale golden color. don't brown the flour.
keep the flame to the lowest and then pour the milk in a gentle stream. pour the milk with one hand and stir the sauce mixture with the other. the milk has to be chilled, so that lumps are not formed. if you use hot or warm milk or milk at room temperature, lumps can be formed.
do stir frequently while the milk warms and heats up.
the sauce would begin to thicken, so do stir often.
when the sauce has thickened well and coats the back of a spoon, switch off the flame.
keep the saucepan down and wait for a minute. then add 150 grams shredded cheese. i used an equal mix of cheddar, gouda and mozzarella cheese. you can also use just cheddar cheese or processed cheese or your favorite cheese.
again mix and stir so that the cheese melts.
the cheese has to melt well in the hot bechamel sauce or white sauce. so now what you have is a cheese sauce.
add ⅛ to ¼ tsp crushed black pepper and a pinch or two of grated nutmeg or nutmeg powder. you can also add a bit of mustard powder.
add very little salt. about 2 to 3 pinches. stir again.
making mac and cheese
now add the pasta in the cheese sauce.
with a spoon stir and mix very well.
here the mac and cheese is done. if you want you can serve it at this step or proceed further to bake it.
making baked mac and cheese
pour the mac and cheese in the prepared baking pan.
top evenly with the breadcrumbs+melted butter mixture.
now sprinkle 2 to 3 tbsp of the shredded cheese on top.
sprinkle some crushed black pepper.
bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees celsius/390 degrees fahrenheit for 15 to 20 till cheese melts or gets golden. do keep a check while baking as oven temperatures vary.
wait for 5 minutes and then serve mac and cheese hot.