Prepare yourselves for the ultimate Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese!
This one is a new addition to my Thanksgiving menu but I feel like Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese is just the right thing to do. It’s an EXCELLENT vegetarian option if you have guests coming that don’t like turkey. And kids and adults will love every aspects of this mac and cheese.
The cheese sauce is uber cheesy and creamy. The buttered panko topping gives it that extra crunch you’re looking for. The thyme bring it up another level so you can feel a tiny bit fancy. The cheeses used are easily found at any market so you don’t have to search for any kinds of fancy cheese. And it makes for incredible leftovers if you are lucky enough to wind up with any! All in all, you’re looking at the best Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese to grace your table. In fact, I’d make it now so you can eat it in peace because come Thanksgiving, it’s gonna go fast.
- 1 pound elbow macaroni or cavatappi
- 1 quart milk
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 12 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated (4 cups)
- 8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 cups) (you could also use Colby Jack)
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1-1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Cook the macaroni according to the directions on the package. Drain well.
- Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don’t boil it!
- Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Remove from heat, add the Gruyère, Cheddar, thyme, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.
- Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the panko crumbs, and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.