This is a five cheese mac and cheese with sharp cheddar, Monterey jack, parmesan, Romano and Velveeta. The combination of all these cheeses is what makes this so irresistible. The other thing is to cook the pasta long enough that the noodles are nice and soft and will hold on to all this wonderful cheesiness.
Mac and Cheese is one of those foods that I can eat every week and never get sick of it. I have been working on this recipe for a long time and I finally have it just right. It is easy and quick and everyone loves it. Every time it is cooking, my kids walk in the house and say, “What smells so good?”
How to Make Mac and Cheese
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 tsp. salt to water.
2. Place elbow macaroni in the boiling water and bring water back to a boil.
3. Cook for 20 minutes. That’s right, 20 minutes. I know the package says 8 minutes, but it is not long enough. You want the macaroni to be all plumped up. Al dente, does not work in this recipe.
4. While the pasta is cooking, put the milk, cubed Velveeta cheese, butter and salt in a pan and cook on medium heat until the sauce is smooth. Most recipes like this call for whole milk. If you have it great! I never have whole milk on hand. 2% milk is my preferred brand. Over the years, I realized, I always have heavy cream, why not just add some cream to my 2% milk and make it whole milk? I use 3/4 c. 2% milk and 1/4 c. heavy cream to create 1 cup of whole milk.
What kind of milk you use can make the difference in a thick or thin Mac and Cheese.
5. Add the rest of the cheeses to the sauce and stir until smooth again. You need 1 c. of sharp cheddar and 1 cup of Monterey jack as well as 1/4 c. of parmesan and 1/4 c. of Romano in the cheese sauce. The left over 1/2 c. of sharp cheddar and Monterey jack will be used on the top of the dish to give it that golden brown toasted cheese topping.
6. Let the sauce sit for 5 minutes so it can cool down a little. This will help it adhere to the macaroni.
7. Drain the macaroni. Make sure to jiggle the strainer so all the water inside the noodles empties out.
8. Place noodles in a large bowl and pour cheese sauce over the noodles. Stir everything together and let it sit for a couple of minutes. Stir it all again and do this for 10 minutes. This should be 6 stirs with 2 minute rest intervals in between. If the pasta holds the sauce and it is not falling to the bottom of the bowl go to the next step.
9. Pour mac and cheese into a baking dish and sprinkle the left over cheeses on top.
10. Place under the broiler in the oven until cheese is brown and bubbly.
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Mac and Cheese
- 16 oz. Elbow Macaroni
- 1 1/2 tsp. Salt, divided
- 1 cup Whole Milk
- 4 oz. American Cheese (Velveeta)
- 1 Tbsp. Butter
- 1 1/2 cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese, divided
- 1 1/2 cups Monterey Cheese, divided
- 1/4 cup Parmesan
- 1/4 cup Romano Cheese
- Cook pasta in a pot of boiling water with 1 tsp. salt for 20 minutes.
- While pasta is cooking, place milk, cubed Velveeta, butter and 1/2 tsp. salt into a saucepan and heat until everything is melted and smooth over medium heat.
- Grate the rest of the cheeses.
- Add 1 c. of Sharp Cheddar and 1 c. Monterey jack cheese to the parmesan and Romano cheeses. Save the rest for the top.
- Place all four cheeses into the saucepan and cook over medium heat until everything is well blended.
- Drain the pasta and turn oven broiler on high.
- Place pasta in a large bowl.
- Pour cheese sauce over pasta and mix gently.
- Let pasta rest with cheese sauce for 2 minutes.
- Do steps 8-9 four times.
- If pasta looks like it is holding the sauce and not falling to the bottom of the bowl, pour into a 9 x 13 pan.
- Sprinkle reserved 1/2 c. Cheddar and 1/2 c. Monterey Jack on mac and cheese and broil until golden brown. This takes 5 minutes in my oven.