Think out of the box Mac n cheese

 

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This recipe is very kids oriented I have to say. I have to say that so I act my age but reality is I love Mac n cheese. However, I hate the concept to cook this pasta out of the box with that weird cheese powder or sauce. So, I like to make it from scratch and the “kids” LOVE it! Hope you like it too. You can skip the last step of the oven but I think you will love it.

Ingredients
1 bag of elbow pasta (or any type, I use whatever I have except spaghetti for mac n cheese)
1 cup of sharp shredded cheddar (for the sauce)
1⁄2 cup Parmesan cheese (for the sauce)
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese (for garnish on the top of the baking dish)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon or pinch of nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon thyme (optional)
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
Chopped parsley for garnish (optional)

Preheat  oven to 375 defrees F.
Spray non stick pam on the baking dish and set aside.

Sauce Preparation
In a small pan, melt the butter over medium heat.

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Whisk the flour in the butter (and I mean whisk so there will be no lumps) until smooth and bubbly.
Add the milk, paprika and the nutmeg.
Bring to a boil over medium high heat.

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Reduce heat and simmer for about 2 minutes.
Now add all the parmesan and the sharp cheddar cheeses until melted (do not add mozzarella) and mixed in the sauce for about 2 minutes maximum.

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Melt the cheese in the béchamel sauce

Remove from heat and set aside.

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Cheese sauce

Bring a large pot of water to boil.
Add a bit of salt and 1/4 teaspoon oregano to the water.
Add the pasta when the water boils.
Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and stir a couple of times.
Cook it for 7 to 10 minutes until the pasta is done.
Drain the pasta and do not wash it with water so the sauce sticks to it easily.
Now you have 2 options: use the oven or not.
If you want to skip the oven step, just pour the sauce on the pasta in the pan and mix and serve.
If you want to proceed with oven step.
Pour the sauce on the pasta and mix well.
Pour the pasta and the sauce in the baking dish.
Sprinkle the top with the mozzarella cheese and the breadcrumbs.
Bake until the cheese is melted and golden brown (about 15 mins).
Sprinkle the parsley or the thyme for garnish and Enjoy!

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