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Recipe: Ultimate Mac and Cheese

Fresh Pasta Machine, Recipe
You will never eat boxed Mac and Cheese again once you see just how easy it is to make this AMAZING and easy homemade recipe.

We discovered the incredible Oakland restaurant, Homeroom through a television show which led the discovery of their cookbook, The Mac and Cheese Cookbook. There are 50 variations of Mac and Cheese in there, but the classic is still one of the best.

The Mac Sauce, which is all of the instructions up to the salt, can stay in your fridge for a few days and is the base for many of the Homeroom Mac and Cheese variations. So you can make extra sauce and then experiment with the rest of their flavors.

Some of our favorite variations from the book are the German, Jalapeno Popper and the Cacio E Pepe. Links to the book and the Homeroom website down below.

Prep, Cook, Servings

Prep: 15 -20 min Mac Sauce. 10 min Classic Mac and Cheese

15 min Bake (optional)

Servings: 8

Ingredients - Mac Sauce

4 cups whole milk

2/3 cup unsalted butter, chopped into small cubes.

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

2 2/3 tsp kosher salt

Ingredients - Classic Mac and Cheese

1 lb elbow pasta (with ridges is preferred)

Mac Sauce (from above)

1 1/2 cups grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese (aged, high quality will taste better)

1/2 cup pecorino romano cheese

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs (optional)

olive oil (optional)

garlic powder (optional)


Baking is optional, you can serve the Mac and Cheese directly out of the pan. If you want to bake, set your oven to 400.

Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until less than al dente. In general, boil the pasta for 2-3 minutes LESS than the manufacturer's instructions. Drain, rinse and set aside.

Heat milk in a small pot over medium heat until it just starts to bubble, but is not boiling. 2 to 4 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Heat the butter over medium heat in a separate, heavy-bottomed pot. We use a silver bottomed pan so we can see the colors of the butter and roux a little easier than the dark non-stick pans. When the butter has just melted, add the flour and whisk constantly until the mixture turns light brown, about 3 minutes.  Remove from the heat.

Using a ladle gradually add the warm milk, about 2 or 3 ladles at a time, into the butter-flour mixture, whisking constantly.  It will get very thick when you first add the milk, and thinner as you slowly pour in the entire 4 cups. This is normal.

Once all the milk has been added, set the pot back over medium-high heat, and continue to whisk constantly. In the next 2 to 3 minutes the sauce should come together and become silky and thick. Use the spoon test to make sure it's ready. To do this, dip a metal spoon into the sauce, if the sauce coats the spoon and doesn't slide off like milk, you'll know it's ready. (note: after the first few times making this recipe, you'll know when it's ready)

Add the salt and whisk in.

Add both cheeses, stir until the cheese is barely melted, about 3 minutes. 

Slowly add the cooked pasta and stir and continue cooking while stirring continuously until the pasta is hot and steaming, another 5 minutes. 

Serve or proceed to baking.

Grease a 9x13 baking dish, it should have at least 2" high sides. Pour the mac and cheese into the baking dish and spread evenly across the dish.

In a small bowl add the panko and sprinkle with some olive oil and some garlic powder. Use a fork to toss the ingredients together. Sprinkle panko on top of the mac and cheese and cook in a 400-degree oven for 10 - 15 minutes. 

Cooking Notes

If you want to make the Mac Sauce in advance, stop after you add the salt. Allow to cool and store it in the fridge for a day or two. It will get a lot thicker in the fridge so when you reheat it, first try melting the cheese into the sauce. If it's still too thick, slowly add some milk to thin it out.  

Homeroom Restaurant:

Video Transcript. Apologies for any typos

Walter 0:00 Hey folks, welcome back to Where's Walter? I'm Walter. Rebecca 0:02 And I'm Rebecca. Walter 0:03 She's right here. She's not behind the camera and we're making homemade mac and cheese. Walter 0:17 So, mac and cheese. You can buy a box. Rebecca 0:21 Yeah. Walter 0:21 Yeah. Rebecca 0:22 A little pouch or the powder. Walter 0:25 But there is a restaurant called Homeroom in Oakland, California. They came out with this book called the Mac and Cheese Cookbook. We have never had mac and cheese that tastes this good. Let's show you just how easy it is to make delicious mac and cheese. Rebecca 0:43 So we have, I cooked some Barilla elbow pasta. I like the kind of the little ridgies, they recommend it. This is cooked slightly less than al dente, the box said seven minutes, so I cooked it for five. Walter 0:56 Okay. Rebecca 0:57 Rinsed it in cold water. That's ready to go. I've poured a quart of whole milk into a pan and heated up the milk. Walter 1:05 Okay, so it's not boiling though it's just heated up. Rebecca 1:08 Yes. So now I'm going to heat this pan and I like to cut it up a little so it's gonna melt easier. Walter 1:18 Butter goes in. And this is a beautiful All Clad skillet that we're using here with a high wall. The chef's pan. Rebecca 1:29 Pan, essential pan, what's it? I can't remember what they call the pan. Walter 1:33 I don't know, but it's a very nice pan. Rebecca 1:34 Yes. And the reason I chose one that wasn't nonstick is because I don't want the dark coloring so I can see if the flour is, because next thing to go in will be flour so I can see if it's burning. Walter 1:50 Those of you watching at home, we're going to make a roux and I put it up on the screen so you can see how it's spelled and a roux, a roux could burn. So if she was using a nonstick pan here, the nonstick pan would be dark gray, black, and it'd be a lot harder to see it. So with this pan being silver, Rebecca can see a lot easier what's going on with the roux. Rebecca 2:16 You're mansplaining. Walter 2:18 I'm mansplaining for you men out there who didn't understand what she said. I'm explaining to you. Rebecca 2:26 Okay. Walter 2:26 Okay, so what are we doing now Rebecca? Rebecca 2:28 Yeah, it does kind of smells a little bit like toast, doesn't it? Rebecca 2:28 Now we're gonna whisk in the flour. So I'm gonna cook this, whisking constantly, until this turns light brown, which will be about three minutes. Okay, so it's starting to get a little light brown. I don't want it to get dark brown and I can kind of smell like a toasty sort of flavor, uh, smell. Rebecca 2:55 And now, going to add in the warm milk, two, maybe three ladles. Walter 3:08 So this is a roux. I don't really know, I'm gonna... Rebecca 3:11 Well no, the roux was just the flour and butter. This is the bechemel. Add a couple, Oh, geez, sorry. Walter 3:24 She's trying to splash me ladies and gentlemen, you just saw it. Look at this. Look at this. This is, this is terrible. Rebecca 3:29 I know. Walter 3:30 Oh my goodness. Who's gonna clean that up? Rebecca 3:33 You will. Walter 3:34 Yeah, I probably will. Rebecca 3:37 Okay, so I added the last of the milk. And then the last thing I add is salt. You want to be fairly generous with the salt because it's gonna make it taste, but this is not a healthy recipe. Walter 3:57 No, it's not. This comfort food and comfort food is rarely healthy. Rebecca 4:04 We're gonna add... Walter 4:06 Cheese. Rebecca 4:08 ...cheddar and Pecorino Romano. Walter 4:14 Oooh. Rebecca 4:17 Okay, so now, just trying to melt the cheese. So now... Walter 4:27 Oooh here comes the fun part. Add the pasta. This is serious macaroni and cheese. Rebecca 4:36 And now, we're gonna stir this continuously and cook it for like another five minutes. This is why you don't want to do al dente or certainly nothing beyond that because this is all cooking still. Walter 4:55 Yeah, going in there. Look at that. Whoo. Rebecca 5:01 I decided to get a little fancy, I tossed with some, I didn't toast them by toss them with some olive oil and garlic powder because a little flavor and then you just sprinkle that on top. This is optional, but I like the little crunchiness on top. Walter 5:15 Yeah, we recommend it, if you got the time. You know the problem is it smells so good. You want to just start digging into it. Rebecca 5:23 And this is gonna go in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Since I made such a big batch, I think I will do it for 15 just because. Walter 5:32 That smells so good. How long was that in the oven? Rebecca 5:34 15 minutes. Walter 5:36 15 minutes out. Like she said you don't have to bake it. You just eat it straight up, you know out of the pan, but we like the little toasty. Rebecca 5:43 Yeah. Walter 5:44 Right. Rebecca 5:44 If you like a little darker, you can toast the bread crumbs beforehand. Walter 5:49 Yeah, or you know, you could even, after making it, you could throw it under the broiler for a minute or two and that'll just darken it right up as well. Ready? Rebecca 5:56 Sure. Walter 5:57 I'm ready. You ready? I hope you can hear that. I'm gonna scoop out a nice little corner. Oh, that's just insane. Let's try this and make all y'all jealous. There we go. Oh god. You will never eat box mac and cheese again. If you make this. In about 30 minutes or so, you can have this. It's so easy. If you like what we're doing, please subscribe to the channel, click the little bell icon so then you'll know when we have more recipes for you to share. We got drinks, we got the recipes, we got cruise stuff, we got travel stuff. Make sure you buy this book. So, thanks for watching. We'll see you next time. I'm Walter. Rebecca 6:45 I'm Rebecca. Walter 6:46 Bye.


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