Up until recently, I had been thinking of all the downside of summer ending when I probably should have been thinking of all the good reasons why autumn beginning is a good thing. I don’t remember exactly when I had my “a-ha!” moment when I finally remembered mac and cheese can now be part of my dinner (or lunch) rotation, but damn was it a good idea.
With the sudden urge to make mac and cheese at home for dinner, I decided to make use of what I already had on hand at home and make some creamy garlic mac and cheese. The pasta shells I used are literally swimming in this rich, creamy garlic cheese sauce. You can barely see the shells. Sorry, not sorry. Using The Mac & Cheese Cookbook based on recipes at Homeroom in Oakland, CA as my guide, I adapted their Gilroy Garlic Mac recipe into something amazing!
There are two parts to this recipe––first you make the mac sauce (which can be used with any mac and cheese) and then you actually make the mac and cheese. It seems like it’s a lot of work but it’s really not, especially for some really creamy (in a good way) mac and cheese. This has definitely been one of the best homemade mac and cheese recipes I’ve ever made.
- 2 cups Milk (I used 2%)
- 5 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- 1/3 cup All-purpose Flour
- 1 teaspoon Sea Salt
- 2 cloves Garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter at room temperature
- 1/4 pound Pasta Shells
- 2 cups Mac Sauce
- 3/4 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- optional: black pepper
- Heat the milk in a pot over medium heat until little bubbles form. Remove from the heat.
- In another pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Right when the butter has just melted, add in the flour and whisk until the mixture turns light brown and thickens. Remove from heat
- Continue to whisk the flour off the heat and slowly add in the heated milk. Keep whisking until you have used all the milk.
- Return the mixture to the stove and whisk constantly on medium heat for a couple of minutes until the sauce thickens. The sauce is ready when you can dip a metal spoon into the sauce and the sauce coats the spoon but doesn't slide off like milk, according to the book.
- Form a compound butter with the minced garlic and butter. Mash the butter and garlic together until the garlic has evenly spread through the butter.
- Cook the pasta shells according to the directions on the package until it is almost al dente. Do not overcook.
- Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water. Drain again.
- Add the sauce, cheese, and garlic butter to a medium-sized pot and set over medium heat. Stir the mixture together until the cheese has barely melted. Add the cooked pasta and stir continuously until the pasta is fully incorporated.
- That's it! Serve hot. Top with some black pepper if you'd like!