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Panera makes my absolute favorite Macaroni and Cheese. It's just amazing! I've tried about 5 or 6 different recipes to duplicate it with no luck...until now! I found this recipe on their website, and it's PERFECT! I think I'll increase the sharp cheddar to 10 or 12 ounces next time, but even with the 8 ounces the recipe recommends, it got rave reviews. As a plus, most of these ingredients are things we have around the house (just not the white cheeses).
Panera Bread’s Signature Macaroni & Cheese
Adapted by Head Chef Dan Kish
1 (16-ounce) package of rigati pasta (or other small pasta shells)
¼ cup butter
½ cup all-purpose flour
2½ cups 2% reduced fat milk (or cream)
6 slices white American cheese, chopped
1 cup (8 ounces) shredded extra-sharp white Vermont cheddar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon hot sauce
1. Prepare pasta according to package directions.
2. Melt butter over low heat. Whisk in flour and cook 1 minute, whisking constantly.
3. Gradually whisk in milk (or cream); cook over medium heat, whisking until mixture thickens and bubbles. Remove from heat.
4. Add cheeses, mustard, salt, and hot sauce, stirring until cheese melts and sauce is smooth.
5. Stir in pasta and cook over medium heat for 1 minute (or until thoroughly heated).
Serves 4 to 6 (We think this would serve around 8 people, and we used a 12 oz. package of pasta instead of the 16 oz. package the recipe recommends.)
I would be in heaven to have Panera Mac and Cheese at home!
I am!! Another perk of this recipe...it tastes just as amazing the second day! Usually I don't like Macaroni and Cheese the second day-it gets more oily and less creamy/cheesy. Not this stuff. It's pure awesomeness.