My son is a huge fan of my macaroni and cheese, so I rarely stray from the version he loves. My daughter, however, discovered a mac and cheese she likes better – a white cheddar version served at a national fast-casual chain restaurant.
I decided to re-create it at home, and now this week’s White Cheddar Skillet Mac and Cheese is the one I prepare when C.C., 20, comes home from college. It comes together quickly – in less than 30 minutes.
To make this a one-dish skillet recipe, I start by boiling the macaroni in the same large skillet I’ll use to cook the sauce.
The skillet needs to be large enough to hold the sauce and pasta when mixed together at the end. You can also use a Dutch oven in place of a skillet.
The recipe starts with a classic white sauce, which is a handy sauce to know how to prepare and very easy to make – just melt butter, whisk in flour, cook for a minute and then whisk in milk. Then you simmer the sauce, stirring occasionally, until it thickens.
The white sauce here is seasoned with Worcestershire, dry mustard, salt and pepper.
The white sauce takes about 10 minutes to thicken, so I use the simmer time to shred two 8-ounce blocks of white cheddar cheese.
I prefer to use freshly shredded cheese when making this dish because it melts better than the pre-shredded variety.
The mac and cheese can be served immediately, but if you want to make it ahead you can spread it in a baking dish and reheat it in the oven.
Serve as a side dish or as a delicious vegetarian entree.
WHITE CHEDDAR SKILLET MAC AND CHEESE
1 pound elbow macaroni, drained
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups milk (I used 1 percent.)
4 cups shredded white cheddar cheese, divided
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard
Heat butter in a large skillet, saucepan or Dutch oven. When melted and bubbly, whisk in flour and stir for 1 minute. Add milk into the roux (the flour-butter combination) in several additions, whisking until smooth after each addition. Add 3 cups of cheese, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and mustard. Stir until the cheese is melted. Stir in the drained elbow macaroni and remaining cup of cheese. Serve.
Makes six large entree servings or 8-10 side-dish servings.