The ultimate comfort food: macaroni and cheese with fried bread crumbs topping. So good!
For the topping:
2 tbsp. butter
3/4 cup (100g) panko (breadcrumbs)
0.4 oz. (10g) parmesan, grated
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. salt
For the pasta & sauce:
10.5 oz. (300g) short pasta ( e.g. macaroni or mezzi rigatoni)
2 tbsp. butter
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups (600ml) milk, at room temperature
1/2 tsp. salt
cayenne pepper or chili flakes (optional)
5 oz. (140g) sharp cheddar, grated
3.5 oz. (100g) Gruyère, grated
3.5 oz. (100g) mountain cheese, grated
1. Start with the breadcrumb topping by adding the butter to a pan and heat up until the butter melts. Add the panko and fry until breadcrumbs are golden brown – it takes some time but you want them nicely toasted and fragrant. When they are done remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl and mix with the parmesan, oregano, and salt. Set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Bring a large pot with salted water to a boil – add the pasta and cook about 2 minutes shorter than the package says for “al dente”. Pour the pasta into a sieve and let drain. Set aside. Place the pot back on the stove and add the butter. Let melt over medium-high heat, then add the crushed garlic and let it cook for a moment until fragrant – about a minute or so. Sprinkle the flour on top and mix until combined. Let cook for a minute as well while stirring constantly. Gradually add the milk and stir to combine – a whisk works best here to get a smooth béchamel sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and let softly bubble for about 4-5 minutes – stir constantly or it will burn. Add the salt and season with pepper and nutmeg. If you like it not/spicy also add some cayenne pepper or chili flakes (optional). When the sauce has thickened nicely add the cheeses and mix until you have a nice and smooth (and probably stretchy) cheese sauce. Remove from the heat, add the drained pasta and mix in. Pour everything into a large casserole dish or pie dish, sprinkle with the breadcrumb mixture and bake for 18-20 minutes. Take out of the oven and let cool down slightly before serving.
Keywords: pasta, cheese, macaroni, lunch, dinner, comfort food