Do you ever find yourself craving a particular food item? Like, really craving it. I found myself really craving a hearty bowl of macaroni and cheese and could not get it out of my mind. It probably would have satisfied me to just grab a box mix from the grocery store but I decided that I could probably take some time to make a more gourmet version that was pretty simple to prepare as well.
I wish that I could say that this dish is a one-pot meal but it isn’t, however, it’s totally worth the two-pan cleanup. I decided to pull out my cast iron skillet to assemble the macaroni and pop it in my oven to toast the crumbles on top. Because let’s be honest, a good macaroni and cheese deserve a good crumbly topping!
I decided to go with a mixture of medium cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese for the ultimate flavor profile. This recipe is honestly so quick and easy to assemble that you won’t ever want to buy a box mix again. PLUS your entire family will enjoy the cheesy goodness.
What kind of delicious foods have you been craving lately?
- 8 ounces dried elbow macaroni
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup panko or other breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1½ cups whole milk
- 1 cup grated medium cheddar cheese
- ½ cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon paprika
- Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 400°F.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook per package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
- Melt the butter in a 9- or 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Remove 1 tablespoon of the butter and combine with the breadcrumbs and thyme in a small bowl; set aside.
- Sprinkle the flour evenly into the skillet and whisk for 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly add the milk while whisking to ensure it doesn't clump. Switch to a wooden spoon and continue cooking the sauce, stirring constantly, until it has noticeably thickened and coats the back of the spoon, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Remove the skillet from the heat and stir the cheeses into the sauce, one handful at a time, until melted and smooth. Stir in mustard, salt, and paprika. Add the cooked pasta and stir gently until the pasta and sauce are evenly combined. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs evenly over top.
- Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the sauce is bubbling and the top is golden-brown, 10 to 15 minutes.