For me, a home is made in the kitchen.
January brought a lot of changes to my life but finally, this past week, I am settled. Settled into a new house, a new routine, and a new dog. To seal the deal I needed to settle into my kitchen. While normally my kitchen is filled with kale salad and hemp seeds sometimes after a long few weeks you just want something that tastes like your mom made it. I don’t know what your mom is like but mine is pies, cookies, and best of all HOMEMADE MAC N’ CHEESE. That’s right, yogis love mac n’ cheese too, especially this one. So I put away my juicer and broke out my cheese grater and I regret nothing!
Below is my absolute favorite mac n’ cheese recipe. I hope the ooey gooey goodness warms your heart and belly like it does mine.
Cooking Temp: 375 ° F
Cooking Time: 25-30min
For the béchamel sauce:
-4 ½ cups of whole milk
-1 stick of unsalted butter
-1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
– 1 pinch of kosher salt
For the rest:
-1 lb. of your favorite shape of pasta (I suggest campanelle, cavatappi, elbows, or fusilli because they hold the cheese sauce best)
-3 ½ cups of sharp cheddar (shredded or cubed)
– 1 – 1 ½ cups of pecorino romano (shredded or cubed)
-Black pepper and kosher salt
If I have learned anything in cooking it is that you know how on TV, chefs have everything all cut up and measured out before they start and you think “Oh, I’ll just cut things up as I go along and it will be fine.” No my friends. It will not be fine; especially if you’re making a cheese sauce, shred your cheese and measure out your milk and flour before hand and have it close by so that when it’s time you can just reach out and “BAM!”…. béchamel sauce.
For the béchamel sauce:
The KEY to béchamel sauce is patience and medium heat.
- In one saucepan heat your milk over medium-high heat until it just begins to come to a simmer. Once it does remove from heat
- Meanwhile, in a second saucepan melt your butter over medium heat, as soon as it’s melted slowly begin to add your flour whisking constantly. Don’t add all the flour in at once or it won’t blend correctly, add a little, whisk, add a little more, whisk, and continue until finally all the flour is added. Whisk this mixture constantly until it begins to turn just a little brown (should take about 3 minutes). Then remove from heat.
- Slowly add the just simmered milk to your butter/flour mixture. Just like you did with the flour don’t pour all the milk in at once, add a little, and whisk, then a little more and whisk, continue this until you have added all the milk. When you first add the milk to the butter/flour mixture it will become very thick—don’t worry, just keep slowing adding milk and whisking constantly, it will thin out.
- Once all the milk has been added and your mixture is smooth, return the saucepan to medium-high heat and cook the sauce until it begins to thicken and coat the back of a spoon (typically about 2-3min).
For the ooey gooey goodness:
- Once your béchamel mixture is smooth add in your pinch of salt, cheddar, and pecorino romano cheese. Continue to heat this and constantly stir over high heat until all the cheese has melted. Add black pepper and kosher salt to taste. Set your cheese sauce to the side.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook your 1 lb. of pasta to al dente. Once it’s done, rinse with cold water and set aside.
- In a large bowl mix your pasta and cheese sauce together!
**Here’s your chance to make it your own. My favorite is to mix in lightly steamed broccoli to my mac n’ cheese but asparagus, nutritional yeast, or BBQ Chicken for you carnivores are also wonderful ideas!
- Once your pasta is smothered in cheese sauce pour the whole mixture into a baking pan and sprinkle with panko breadcrumbs.
Bake at 375 ° F for about 25-30min or until it starts to bubble around the edges and the breadcrumbs get a nice toasty brown color!
I hope you all enjoy! Send me photos, questions and comments on our Facebook page at Grassroots Yoga Albuquerque, I can’t wait to see what you guys add to your mac n’ cheese!