super-creamy stove top mac & cheese

I know I make macaroni & cheese a lot...  but what can I say.  We love homemade mac & cheese around here!

I have several versions that I shuffle around depending on my mood, the rest of the dinner plans and how much work I want to do...

They are all easy, but easy in different ways.

This version is a super creamy stove-top mac & cheese that has so much flavor...  I really do think it is my favorite of all of them!

But of course none of us agree, so try them yourself and decide!

And if you've already tried any of these...  let me know!  Which one is your favorite?

Super-Creamy Stove Top Mac & Cheese Recipe
adapted from Food Network
Servings:  6-8, depending on accompaniments!

1 pound penne pasta (or other short pasta)
1/2 cup butter
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup flour
2 - 3 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
salt & pepper, to taste
1/4-3/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (to taste)

Boil the pasta according to the package directions.  Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water and then drain the noodles and set them aside.

While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion and sauté until very soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.

Sprinkle in the flour, stirring constantly, and continue to stir and cook until light golden brown, smooth and pasty.  (Congratulations!!  You just made a roux!  Aren't you proud of yourself?!)  

Stir in the chicken stock (start with 2 cups, add more if you need it at the end!) until you have a smooth sauce and simmer a few minutes until thick.  Stir in the heavy cream and then the cheese until melted.  Season, to taste, with salt & pepper and chipotle chili powder.

Gently stir in the pasta, adding a bit at a time of the reserved pasta water if needed, until the sauce is creamy and the noodles are coated to your liking.

(You can stir in some leftover cooked ham at this point, if you have any, like I did...  it's so good together!)

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