Friday, February 1, 2013

Panera's Mac & Cheese

I had this delicious mac and cheese at a cooking friend's house this past summer, and made it for myself last week.  It's different from the majority of mac and cheeses I make in that it's a stove top recipe, requiring no baking, and it has a bit of white American cheese to help in the smooth and creamy department.  The rest of the cheesiness comes from extra sharp Vermont white cheddar.  For the pasta, I used organic mini wagon wheels I brought back from our last trip to Germany.  I couldn't find the requested pasta shape (pipette). 

The recipe calls for a full pound of pasta, but I found that was too much for the amount of sauce (for us, anyway).  It was perfect though, because my baby ate some of the leftover cooked plain pasta over the next few days and loved it.  Next time, though I'd probably only cook about 14 oz. of pasta instead of the 16 oz. 
Panera's Mac & Cheese
adapted from Smells Like Home, via Cookin' Mama

14-16 oz pipette pasta or other small pasta shapes (Go with 14 oz for more sauce)
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups milk or half-and-half
4 oz white American cheese, chopped or torn into pieces
8 oz extra sharp white Vermont cheddar, shredded
2 tsp – 1 tbsp Dijon mustard (to taste)
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp hot sauce

1.  In a large stockpot, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well.

2.  Meanwhile, melt the butter in a 4-quart sauce pan over medium heat. When the butter has melted and has started to bubble, whisk in the flour; cook for 1 1/2 minutes whisking constantly. Gradually whisk in the milk until no lumps remain. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook milk mixture, whisking frequently, until it thickens and bubbles, about 8 minutes.

3.  Remove sauce pan from the heat and by the handful, stir in the cheeses, allowing all of the cheese to melt into the sauce before adding more. Stir in the mustard, salt, and hot sauce. Return the sauce pan to the heat and stir in the pasta. Be sure to stir up the sauce from the bottom of the sauce pan and thoroughly coat all of the pasta with sauce. Cook for 1-2 minutes over medium-low heat until heated through. Serve hot in bowls with spoons.

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1 comment:

Emily said...

I still need to try this. Those little polka dot dishes are adorable! Great photos.