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Recipe: Grown Up Mac and Cheese Even the Kids Will Love

A comfort food for many, this mac and cheese is all grown up, but the kids will still love it just as much as the adults!

This recipe is from Ambler Patch editor and the Montgomery County Patch team's resident chef, Leann Pettit. For a smorgasbord of her recipes, click here.

Who doesn’t love comfort food? And personally, I don’t have just one comfort food, I have many. Macaroni and cheese is one of those comfort foods. Easy Mac and Stoffer’s are good in a pinch (or when I don’t feel like cooking) but nothing but nothing beats homemade.

Mac and cheese is a great base, too. There is so much you can add to it to make it even tastier: chicken, ham, pancetta, bacon, tomatoes, the list goes on and on. You can also choose your favorite cheeses. Choose cheddar as a base and then pick one or two other cheeses to add depth of flavor to the dish.

I chose diced ham – the Berks brand makes packages of diced ham – and tomatoes. I also chose Sargentos’ Italian Blend and sharp cheddar.

This was delicious, however, it made a lot of mac and cheese, enough for a family of four to eat dinner and have leftovers!

You can get all these ingredients at Giant, Super Fresh or Genuardi's.

Ingredients

  • Kosher Salt
  • Vegetable Oil
  • 1 lb. elbow macaroni
  • 1 quart milk
  • 8 Tbs. Unsalted butter
  • ½ cup flour
  • 2 cups hard cheese, shredded (I used an Italian blend from Sargento)
  • 4 cup Sharp Cheddar, shredded
  • 1 ½ cups diced ham
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 small tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 ½ cups Panko bread crumbs

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Drizzle oil into large pot of boiling salted water.
  3. Add macaroni and cook according to package directions. Drain well.
  4. Heat the milk and 6 Tbs. butter in a 2 qt. saucepan, but don’t boil.
  5. Add the flour to the milk while whisking. Cook for a minute or two, until thickened and smooth.
  6. Off the heat, add two cheeses, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg and stir until smooth.
  7. Pour cheese over cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.
  8. Arrange the sliced tomatoes on top.
  9. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and combine the panko. Sprinkle on the top.
  10. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on top.

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