My Mac and Cheese

  • 1 lb rigatoni cooked and drained
  • 5 TBSP butter
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 8 oz sharp cheddar shredded
  • 8 oz sharp white cheddar shredded
  • 4 TBSP flour
  • 4 cups 2% milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4-6 twists of the pepper grinder or 1/2 tsp pre-ground white pepper
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp dried thyme (if you have fresh it is better if so use 1 TBSP fresh)

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F. Butter 13x9x2 pan.
  2. In saucepan melt butter. Once melted remove 1 TBSP butter and mix together with panko, 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, and thyme. Set aside.
  3. Add flour to remaining butter in saucepan and cook (let it start to bubble then start timing) over medium heat for 1 minute. 
  4. Add milk gradually whisking until rue is incorporated. Heat to boiling over medium heat whisking to prevent milk from scorching. Once milk/rue mixture starts to thicken cook to 2 minutes. Mixture should coat the back of a spoon and not run together when your finger is dredged through the center. (Use 2% for this 1% or skim really doesn't do it for me in this recipe, it is not as rich and does not get as thick)
  5. Finally add remaining cheeses to mixture. Don't overwhelm it, add the cheese in 3 additions, allowing each addition of cheese to melt before adding the next one. Stir in mustard powder and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Mix cooked pasta with sauce and pour into 13x9x2 prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes.
  7. After 30 minutes sprinkle top with panko topping and bake until browned.