I love macaroni and cheese, it’s one of my all time favorite dishes. Over the years, I’ve tried lots of recipes for homemade, but nothing ever really measured up to the high expectations I had developed in my mind. Some were too cheesy, others weren’t cheesy enough, while others textures were just off.
So I threw away all the recipes and came up with something of my own and I’m very happy with the results. I use a mix of mild cheddar and Vermont white cheddar for this recipe. Because I like a little crunch in my mac and cheese, I topped it with a cracker/pecan topping and toasted it up in the oven.
Pecan Crusted Mac and Cheese
½ cup pecans, chopped
4½ tbs. butter
pinch of salt
3 cups noodles ( I used seashell noodles)
½ cup all-purpose flour
3 cups mild cheddar cheese, shredded
2 cups white Vermont cheddar cheese, shredded
3 cups whole milk
1 sleeve of Ritz crackers, crushed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees;
Spread pecans onto an aluminum foil baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and ½ tablespoon melted butter. Bake for 7-8 minutes; set aside.
In a large stock pot, cook the pasta according to the directions until the pasta is al dente; Drain and set aside.
Melt 2 tbs. of butter in a large saucepan on medium heat; Once the butter bubbles and starts to brown, whisk in the flour to make a rue. Continue whisking the rue for 2-3 minutes.
Slowly whisk in the milk, making sure to keep the rue from forming clumps. Allow the mixture to cook for about 5-10 minutes.
Stir in the cheeses, one cup at a time, allowing each addition to be completed incorporated before adding the next.
Add the pasta to the cheese sauce, coating the pasta completely. Pour the macaroni and cheese into a greased casserole dish. Top with the crushed crackers and toasted pecans. Melt 2 tbs. of butter and pour is over the top of the pecans and crackers.
Bake for 20 minutes or until the crust is browned and the cheese starts to bubble.