This comfort food classic is one the whole family will love

Some things are just better when they're made from scratch—and making something with your own two hands provides such satisfaction. When you cook from scratch, you know exactly what ingredients go into your meals, and it offers you the flexibility to adjust your recipe for dietary or taste preferences.

Try out the cheesy deliciousness of this recipe at your next family meal...

Mac and cheese

I love homemade mac and cheese. I honestly can’t remember the last time I had the pre-packaged variety, becausewhen I’m going to eat dairyI’m going to do it right. 
 
There are lots of tiny tweaks to truly make this dish your own, from crumbly breadcrumb top to the variety of cheese you fold in. And like many 'from scratch' recipes, it also freezes easily, providing great leftovers.

Christine McAvoyChristine McAvoy

INGREDIENTS

  • 450 g of dried pasta 
  • Approx. 750 g of quality cheese, in equal parts (I use fontina, sharp cheddar, Parmesan, low-moisture mozzarella and gruyere, though gouda and havarti are good choices too)
  • 60 g of butter 
  • ¼ cup non-bleached all-purpose flour 
  • 4 cups of milk 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • Optional: breadcrumbs or additional cheddar and Parmesan to top

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F
  2. Grate all of your cheeses, so they’re ready to go when needed and place them in a glass or heat-proof bowl
  3. In a large pot of salted water, cook your macaroni or pasta of your choosing. (Keep in mind that noodles with ridges or tubes are best for soaking up sauce.) Cooking until al dente. If the pasta finishes before the sauce is ready, drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking.
  4. While the pasta is cooking, make the roux. In a high-walled sauce pan, melt the butter on medium heat, allowing it to cook for a minute or two. Then sprinkle in the flour, and whisk to combine, cooking two or three minutes until the flour smell is gone. 
  5. Slowly add small amounts (¼ cup or so) of milk, constantly whisking to ensure no lumps. Do this until the milk has been incorporated, and continue whisking for a few minutes until the roux thickens. 
  6. When ready, pour the roux through a mine-mesh strainer, over top of the cheeses and then fold it in with a spatula to combine fully. Season with salt and pepper. (You can add some other spices here, like cayenne pepper, but taste first as some of the cheeses may already offer enough flavour.)
  7. Toss the pasta into a casserole dish and pour the cheese over top, folding it in.  
  8. Now, you can either top the casserole with more grated cheddar and Parmesan, or with breadcrumbs. Or—go wild—both! If leftovers remain, freeze in a separate container to revisit at another date. 
  9. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes, and then rotate the dish, and bake for 20 to 25 more, until golden brown. Remove from oven. 
  10. Let rest for approximately 10 minutes and then serve. 

Makes eight servings