This past weekend, my husband and I made a date to sit in front of our TV at 5:30 p.m to watch our favorite college basketball team (Go Cuse!) on ESPN 2. Watching college basketball in our house is a big deal and since this game would begin and end during dinner time, I decided to make something conducive to throwing in the oven to cook while watching the game and then eating easily on the couch. I love homemade macaroni and cheese, but honestly do not make it enough. It’s not the healthiest thing for you, and it’s just one of those easy recipes that I often overlook. But it’s gooey and delicious, and I decided it was the perfect meal to make — I could prepare it before the game started and then during one of the time-outs, throw it in the oven to bake. I spiced up the breadcrumbs with some sautéed garlic and added some fresh sage to the milk, cheese, and onion mix. Instead of using heavy cream, I used milk and also used Barilla whole wheat shells to make it a tad bit healthier. This dish is so creamy and comforting — Syracuse won too, so it was a good night!
- 1 pound shells
- 3 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp flour
- 1 tbsp powdered mustard
- 3 cups milk (I used skim)
- 1 small, yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped
- 3 cups white sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese
- salt & pepper to season
Bread Crumb Topping:
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 cup plain bread crumbs
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente.
- While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and stir it for 2 for about 3 minutes. Make sure it’s free of lumps.
- Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and sage. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf.
- Stir in cheddar cheese and season with salt and pepper.
- Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a casserole dish. Top with Parmesan cheese.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saute pan and add the garlic. Let cook 1 minute.
- Add the bread crumbs and toss to coat.
- Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until bread crumb topping is golden brown.