Megan's Baked Mac & Cheese


1 pound box mini farfalle (or pasta shapes of your choice)
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
16 ounces cheddar cheese, divided (4 cups - I used a blend of three cheddars)
1 cup panko
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a large casserole dish with olive oil.

Cook pasta according to package directions (make sure to salt your water) until al dente. Drain, pour into casserole dish, and then stir 8 ounces (1 2-cup package) cheese into pasta. (You can also mix the pasta and cheese in a bowl, but I didn't want to dirty another dish.)
While the pasta is cooking, in small saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Using a wire whisk, stir in flour, and cook over medium heat for 1 minute. Gradually add milk while whisking and cook until mixture boils. Simmer for 2 minutes, and then set aside. (This sauce is called bechamel.)
Mix panko, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, and a couple small handfuls of cheese in a small bowl.
Take remaining cheese and stir it into the bechamel. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour the cheesy bechamel over the pasta in the casserole dish and stir to combine. (Again, you could do this in a bowl and then pour everything into the casserole dish for ease, but I opted for one less dish.)
Bake macaroni in preheated oven for about 10 minutes, or until cheese is gooey and smoothly melted over pasta.
Remove dish from oven and sprinkle panko mixture evenly over the top.
Return to oven for about 5 minutes. Then turn on broiler and check frequently. (Depending on your oven, it might only take 2 minutes for the panko to brown. ) Once panko is brown, remove baked macaroni from oven. We let it rest for about 5 minutes before digging in.

-Delicious Dishings