Homemade Mac & Cheese

Nothing beats homemade Mac & Cheese. Pair the homemade deliciousness with pizza burgers and you have a winning dinner! This recipe for homemade cheese sauce is the simplest recipe to follow and results in a deliciously creamy cheese sauce.

homemade mac & cheese with sweet peas and pizza burgers

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Published May 27, 2022
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What makes this recipe special

Making a cheese sauce is fairly easy, once you master this recipe you will then be able to make it more and customize it with different meals. A basic roux is made with equal parts melted butter and flour and is then the basis for making a cheese sauce. By using a three-cheese blend, comprised of asiago, parmesan and mozzarella, your cheese sauce then has a bold flavor that is creamy. However, feel free to use any cheese you desire for a delicious and homemade mac & cheese. Just make sure to shred your own cheese and not use pre shredded cheese.

Using cheese that has been pre shredded has an additive that helps it to not stick together, which is the opposite of making a cheese sauce. By using pre shredded, you are putting anti-clumping powders into your sauce and will cause it to clump and not be smooth. Additionally, using cheese that you shred will help to lower the cost as block cheese is typically less expensive.

Why use starchy pasta water

There are a few reasons to use reserved starchy pasta water when making a homemade cheese sauce. The first is because the pasta water will help the sauce to better stick onto the pasta once you blend the two together. The second is that it eliminates the need to use chicken stock completely if you want a lighter sauce than using all milk. Instead of pouring all of that water down the drain, save some of it to use to make your cheese sauce.

Additionally, you can strain the pasta water into a large bowl and allow it to cool completely, then store and use this water within a day or two to water plants. This is called Gray Water, and is very beneficial for plants if used properly. For instance, if you are boiling pasta, do not add salt to the water and save the water for houseplants. Using gray water cuts water costs 30-50%, depending on how much water you use. Just make sure that this water is not used on any consumable plants or root vegetables.

Another example of grey water is by setting up a collection off of your gutters and downspouts into a barrel and using the collected rain water to water your plants or garden. This is an amazing way to save money on your water bill.

Homemade Mac & Cheese Recipe

Ingredients

10-oz elbow macaroni
4 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups starchy pasta water
1-2 cups milk
2 cups cheese blend, mozzarella, asiago and parmesan
Garlic, dill, salt and pepper to taste if desired

all ingredients on countertop for homemade mac & cheese

Directions

1. In a 6-Quart pot on the stove, boil water and then cook the elbow macaroni according to the package directions. When the pasta is cooked, collect 1-2 cups of the starchy pasta water and then strain the rest in a sink colander. Or, rest the colander in a large bowl and collect the non-salted water to water houseplants.

2. Shred cheese in a Cuisinart food processor. Make sure to use block cheese and not pre shredded as the pre shredded will not blend well into the sauce.

3. Melt 4 Tbsp unsalted butter in the 6-Quart pot and then add 4 Tbsp flour and whisk the flour into the butter well, making sure to cook the flour for 2-3 minutes.

4. Season the flour mixture if desired with garlic powder, dill, salt and pepper.

5. Add 1 tsp chicken broth base per 1 cup of starchy pasta water, whisk to blend and then slowly add the water to the flour mixture and then whisk well to combine. Make sure the starchy pasta water is collected while the pasta is still in the pot and you use a heat-safe measuring cup like a Pyrex Glass one.

6. Then measure and add 1-2 cup milk to the sauce in the pot and whisk together well.

7. Add the shredded cheese, one handful at a time, and whisk to blend until all of the cheese is blended well into the sauce.

8. Add the drained pasta back to the 6-Quart pot and then use a large spoon to mix well.

Finally, serve the Homemade Mac & Cheese and enjoy! This night, we had pizza burgers with Mac & Cheese.

Recipe for Homemade Mac & Cheese

Ingredients for Homemade Mac & Cheese

10-oz elbow macaroni
4 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups starchy pasta water
1-2 cups milk
2 cups cheese blend, mozzarella, asiago and parmesan
Garlic, dill, salt and pepper to taste if desired

Directions for Homemade Mac & Cheese

1. In a 6-Quart pot on the stove, boil water and then cook the elbow macaroni according to the package directions. When the pasta is cooked, collect 1-2 cups of the starchy pasta water and then strain the rest in a sink colander.
2. Shred cheese in a Cuisinart food processor. Make sure to use block cheese and not pre shredded as the pre shredded will not blend well into the sauce.
3. Melt 4 Tbsp unsalted butter in the 6-Quart pot and then add 4 Tbsp flour and whisk the flour into the butter well, making sure to cook the flour for 2-3 minutes.
5. Add 1 tsp chicken broth base per 1 cup of starchy pasta water, whisk to blend and then slowly add the water to the flour mixture and then whisk well to combine.
6. Then add 1-2 cup milk to the sauce in the pot and whisk together well.
7. Add the shredded cheese, one handful at a time, and whisk to blend until all of the cheese is blended well into the sauce.
8. Add the drained pasta back to the 6-Quart pot and then use a large spoon to mix well.
Finally, serve the Homemade Mac & Cheese and enjoy! This night, we had pizza burgers with Mac & Cheese.

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