Let’s face it, anytime you head to Panera, regardless of what you do end up ordering, you know you always want to get that sinfully delicious, creamy mac and cheese. However, it’s actually not that complicated to make on your own. If you find yourself too far from a Panera or simply don’t feel like going out, just whip up a batch of your own. The secret behind the delicious treat is the combination of white cheddar that gives it its distinct, rich flavor and white American cheese that gives it that delightful creaminess. This recipe is certainly not diet friendly, so make sure you go for full fat cheese and whole milk for best results.
What You Need
1 pound dry shell or elbow pasta
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup AP flour
1 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream (or half & half)
1 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3/4 pound sharp white cheddar, shredded
1/4 pound white American cheese
What To Do
Boil a large pot of water and season with 2 tablespoons of kosher salt. Add the pasta and cook until it reaches al dente, don’t overcook the pasta. Drain it and set aside.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, then add the flour and whisk until you form a smooth and thick paste. Make sure there are no lumps, and then cook for about 2 minutes until it has become fragrant but not brown.
Lower the heat to medium-low and add in the cream, milk, mustard, and a teaspoon of salt. Whisk continuously until the sauce bubbles and becomes thicker, which should take about 5 minutes or so.
Add in the cheese and mix with a wooden spoon until it has all melted. Toss in the cooked pasta and mix until it is all evenly coated.
Enjoy your delicious copycat Panera mac and cheese!