Mac and cheese isn’t always associated with Thanksgiving dinner, but over the years it has become a staple side dish at our table and my go to dish to make. There is something about incorporating classic comfort food into a traditional holiday that feels so right. I like to make this dish a bit more seasonally festive by adding fragrant fresh sage, creamy white cheddar and hearty topping of seasoned breadcrumbs. Baking the mac and cheese in a cast iron skillet makes it piping hot and gives it a delicious crunch, but I also make it in a standard casserole dish for larger portions.
Mac & Cheese Recipe
- 6 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 cup Mild White Cheddar
- 1 cup Sharp White Cheddar
- 8 Sage Leaves – chopped
- 3 cloves Garlic – minced
- 1/3 cup Flour (plus more)
- 4 cups Whole Milk
- Salt and Pepper (to taste)
- 1/3 cup Panko Style Breadcrumbs
- Pinch dried oregano
- 1 box Cavatappi Pasta or Elbows
|Preheat oven to 400 degrees.|
Make cheese sauce by combining 2 cloves minced garlic, 5 tbsp. of butter, and 1/3 cup of flour into a large sauté pan over medium/low heat. Whisk until well combined and smooth. While whisking, slowly add the milk (this step may require a bit more flour or a bit more milk depending on the thickness). Keep whisking while mixture thickens (about 3-5 minutes). You don’t want it to be too dense or the pasta will dry out. Once mixture has thickened add the white cheddars, chopped sage, salt and pepper and stir until well combined. Turn to simmer.
While the sauce simmers, bring a pot of water to a boil and cook macaroni per the box’s instructions.
When the pasta is done cooking, strain, add to the sauce and stir
In a small sauté pan add one tablespoon of butter, breadcrumbs and oregano. Toast over low heat, stirring so the breadcrumbs don’t burn but get coated with melted butter.
Place pasta mixture in a lightly buttered cast iron skillet (or dish), top with toasted bread crumbs and bake 15 – 20 minutes, until the top begins to brown and the cheese is bubbling.
Be careful when pulling the skillet out of oven as it will be very hot! Top with fresh sage and serve hot!