Quick and Easy Mac and Cheese is ready in under an hour and made with five simple ingredients (plus seasonings). This is kid and adult approved, and should be on your table soon!
Course: Side Dish
Keyword: baked mac and cheese, quick and easy mac and cheese
Author: Sue Ringsdorf
12oz.orecchietti pasta- or other type of pasta
12oz.cheddar cheese (or four cups, after grating)- freshly grated
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper- to taste
smoked paprika- optional
Cook pasta in a pot of salty water until al dente (soft but has some bite). Strain in a colander.
Meanwhile, make cheese sauce. Melt butter in a medium stock pot over medium heat. Add flour and stir well for a minute or two. Add slightly warmed milk and stir until the mixture thickens. this will take five minutes or so. Then add the shredded cheese, ground mustard, salt, and pepper. Stir until cheese melts completely.
Add the pasta to the sauce and stir to combine. Pour into an 8x8 casserole dish, and sprinkle with smoked paprika (optional).
Bake mac and cheese for 30 minutes or until it's hot and bubbly. If you are baking after refrigerating, you'll need to bake for slightly longer.
Baking vs not baking:
Baking. Baking the Mac and Cheese allows for you to make it ahead of time and popping it into the oven to get it hot and bubbly right before serving. You can also make it a day ahead of time and store in the refrigerator, which is nice if you are serving it at a busy holiday meal.
NOT baking. ou could definitely serve this Mac and cheese without baking. It's extra creamy this way and oh so delish.