Merry-Merry Mac & Cheese with Panko Crusted Topping

By Mindy Kobrin

Macaroni and Cheese with PankoMac & Cheese with Panko Crusted Topping Recipe

Prepared in 20 minutes or less plus 1 hour to bake.

Ingredients:

For the Topping:

  • 2 Tbs unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 2 cups panko, Japanese breadcrumbs or substitute 1½ cups country bread cut into cubes
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 Tbs fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

For the Macaroni:

  • 3 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 4½ cups extra-sharp Cheddar cheese grated, plus 1 cup, coarsely grated for topping
  • 2 cups Gruyère cheese or Fontina cheese
  • 3 Tbs unsalted butter
  • ½ cup flour
  • Quart of whole milk
  • 1 lbs macaroni or corkscrew pasta
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • Salt to taste

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Grease a non-stick 10 x 13 inch baking dish**. Combine cheeses into a bowl and set aside. Boil a large pot of salted water. Add pasta and cook until al dente (just tender). Drain then pour into a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  3. Heat butter in a separate saucepan and whisk in flour. Cook on low heat for approximately 2 minutes. Whisk in warm milk then remove from heat.
  4. Stir in cheeses to the milk mixture. Once cheese is melted, stir in cayenne, nutmeg and salt. Pour cheese mixture over pasta in the large bowl and gently toss until pasta is well-coated. Transfer pasta into greased baking dish. Bake uncovered for 35-45 minutes. Remove and set aside
  5. Raise oven heat to 400°F.
  6. In a food processor, combine all topping Ingredients except for butter and extra-sharp grated cheese. Pulse until combined. Sprinkle panko topping and grated cheese evenly over the macaroni. Dot topping with remaining pieces of butter.
  7. Bake uncovered for 10-15 minutes more until sauce is bubbly and crust is golden brown. Serve immediately. Serves 8-10.

**Don’t Worry, Eat Happy: Bake macaroni inside 8 small ramekins for a fabulous party appetizer or easy get-together meal served with a tossed green salad.

For more information on Mindy’s Meals on Heels, visit www.mealsonheelsbymindy.com. Twitter: www.twitter/meals_heels. Facebook: www.facebook.com/dontworryeathappy.

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