The secret to perfect mac and cheese – What’s not to like about homemade mac and cheese?

What’s not to like about homemade mac and cheese?

It’s creamy, cheesy, versatile and easy, and its luscious texture appeals to the young, old and everyone in between.

With three children who love both pasta and cheese, I’ve made a lot of macaroni and cheese over the last decade. I’ve found through trial and error that two things really matter when it comes to this dish.

The first is the amount of milk relative to the pasta. More is better, even when it seems excessive. The second is the inclusion of dry mustard. These two things will set your dish apart.

I’ve used the following family recipe for several years. Even if I deviate from it, or try another one for kicks, I always end up coming back to it because it I can’t find another that is this creamy or punchy. Give it a try, and let me know what you think.

Serves 6-8
2 ˝ tablespoons butter
2 ˝ tablespoons flour
1 Ľ teaspoons salt
Ľ teaspoons ground black pepper, or more to taste
1 Ľ teaspoons dry mustard
3 1/8 cups milk (seems like a lot, but go with it)
2 ˝ cups shredded extra sharp white cheddar cheese (or any cheese or combination you prefer)
8 oz. elbow macaroni

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook elbow macaroni according to directions. While the pasta is cooking, melt butter in a Dutch or large pot over low heat. When butter is melted, blend in flour, salt, pepper and dry mustard. Add milk and stir over low heat until thickened and smooth. Add all but Ľ cup cheese. Heat until melted, stirring occasionally. Add cooked and drained macaroni, stir to combine, then pour into a 9-by-12 casserole dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese over the top. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes or until browned. This recipe doubles, and freezes, easily.