There is nothing like making your favorite comfort food when you are having a busy or stressful week. Plus, add cheese and lots of it, to the dish, and your day suddenly improves.
This easy to make Mac and 3 Cheese recipe will become a staple in your home as it is so adaptable to the cheese you have available in the fridge or simply what you like to eat. Should you want to doctor it up with meat, vegetables or truffles, it’s all up to you.
What I also really want to share is why making this recipe in a Lodge cast iron skillet is just the icing on the cake. If you have never used cast iron cookware, you are missing out on what is a legacy form of cookware in families. The beauty of this indestructible cookware is that it now comes in a seasoned version, which means it is essentially a non-stick piece of cookware right from the start. And it goes easily from stovetop to oven should you want that option. There are no concerns about the surface scratching off, PFOA (chemicals sometimes found in non-stick surfaces) or limitations on the utensils you can use when cooking. Whether you are making eggs, frying chicken, making cornbread or a single big chocolate chip cookie, this is an inexpensive piece of cookware that belongs in everyone’s kitchen.
Now, back to the rich and creamy mac and cheese! There are a few tips with this recipe that make what is good EVEN better.
- Use a cast iron skillet rather than ceramic baking pan.
- Put it in a 425 degree oven, empty, while you are making the recipe. Getting it super hot will add a fabulous brown crunchy edge to the mac and cheese.
- Once you finish the components of the recipe and it is in the skillet, add the parmesan cheese, Panko and thyme to the top and bake for 12 minutes or until melted and a little brown.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 1 cup Gruyere, shredded
- 1 cup white cheddar, shredded
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
- 1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
- 2 teaspoons thyme, finely chopped
- 1 16 ounce package of pasta noodles, short style
- Salt and Pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Once at temperature, put empty cast iron skillet in oven.
- Bring water in large pot to boil. Add salt stirring till it dissolves. Add pasta. Cook till al dente. Drain. Put pasta into large bowl.
- In sauce pan, melt butter. Whisk in flour until thoroughly mixed. About 2 minutes. Whisk in milk, half and half, nutmeg and pinch of salt. Whisk until smooth about 3 minutes. Remove from heat, Add pepper. Add 2/3 each of cheddar and Gruyere. Mix until smooth.
- Remove cast iron skillet from oven. Pour cheese sauce over pasta and mix in bowl. Then transfer to seasoned (or oiled) skillet. Evenly sprinkle remaining cheddar and gruyere on top.
- Mix thyme and Panko together. Sprinkle on top of pasta mixture. Then return to oven and bake for 12 minutes till lightly brown with crispy edges.
- Serves 6.
- Use any cheeses you prefer. Additions such as meat, vegetables or truffle salt will all add significant flavor.