Easy Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Mac and Cheese is one of those dishes that you can customize as much as you want and it never gets old.
For this dish, I substituted a classic set of ingredients and the result was amazing.
Rather than the usual flour and milk for the sauce, I like to use Ricotta cheese, which sticks to every piece of pasta and combined with a spoonful of lemongrass gives you a nice comforting, and filling dish.
What you need
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 cups panko
- 1 medium yellow onion, small dice
- 1 teaspoon lemongrass (optional, and to taste)
- 4 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
- 2 cups ricotta cheese
- 2 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheedar cheese
- 2 1/2 cups mozzeralla cheese
- 1 cup paramesan cheese
How to make it
- Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat.
- Heat the oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
- In the saucepan, add the onion, lemongrass and measured salt and pepper, and cook until softened but not browned, about 6 minutes.
- Add the ricotta cheese to the mix slowly, and whisk frequently until evenly combined and smooth, stopping to whisk any clumps as needed.
- Continue cooking, whisking occasionally, until the sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 7 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Add the pasta to the boiling pot of water and cook until still chewy and underdone, usually a few minutes less than the package directions suggest (the pasta will finish cooking in the oven).
- Drain and rinse with cold water until no longer steaming; set aside.
- Return the ricotta mixture to medium heat and stir in 3/4 of the cheeses until melted and smooth, leave some cheddar for a topping.
- Add the rinsed pasta and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is heated through and steaming, about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.
- Transfer to a 5-quart baking dish, sprinkle with the panko crumbs and remaining cheese, and bake until bubbling and lightly browned on top, about 25 to 30 minutes.
- Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.