Happy National Pasta Day! Mac & cheese is always a winning meal, and one of my favourites. If you’re looking for a tried-and-true cheese sauce to spice up your pasta, you can’t go wrong with this simple recipe.
My father made this for me when I was a kid, and I’ve been making it ever since. It is a great back-to-basics sauce that takes 7 ingredients, and less than 20 minutes to prepare. In the same amount of time you’d spend making a boxed mac-and-cheese, you could make this. Don’t let the recipe below fool you. It makes a lot and is super affordable. Depending on how much you want or how many you’re feeding, just double the ingredients.
If you love leftovers like I do, this reheats nicely. You’ll need the following to make this, and can substitute any of the ingredients with vegan or gluten free items your prefer.
You’ll need the following ingredients:
- Cheese, a quantity of your preference, grated
- ½ cup flour
- Butter, a quantity of your personal preference
- 1 cup milk
- Fresh basil, to taste
- Fresh oregano, to taste
- And of course, your favourite pasta!
All these ingredients can be replaced with vegan and/or gluten free substitutes. Instead of regular cheese, try a Diaya imitation ‘cheese’. Instead of white flour, try brown rice or cashew flour. Instead of butter, there is great vegan imitation ‘butter’. Instead of 2% milk try a soy, almond or coconut milk.
how to make this family favourite:
This is my preferred way to make the cheese sauce, but you may find a variation as you make it yourself that you enjoy even more!
- Start by heating a sauce pan on low heat and add butter until it has melted.
- As the butter is melting, add 4 cups of water to a medium sized pot. Bring to a roiling boil; add pasta and turn to medium heat.
- Slowly mix in 1/4 of the flour, to the melted butter.
- Slowly wisk in 1/4 of the milk until the flour dissolves. Continue to wisk these ingredients until they have thickened
- Melt a small handful of cheese.
- Continue to stir in small portions of flour, milk, and cheese until you reach your desired consistency and thickness for the sauce.
- Keeping on low heat, add basil, oregano, along with salt and pepper to taste.
- If desired, drizzle with truffle oil OR dijon mustard to taste.
- Drain pasta.
Lightly drizzle over freshly made pasta, and garnish with a dash of basil or other spice. If you want to kick this up a notch, bake the mac & cheese with the sauce, in the oven. You can also add in some heat with a spiced breadcrumb topping, or a gluten-free panko.