Obviously, I haven’t really met a homemade mac and cheese that I didn’t like. That said, stovetop varieties typically leave a bit to desire, however if you want to get it to the table in a jiffy, usually the stovetop is the preferred method. If you’re in a hurry, baking in the oven for 30-40 minutes, just takes too long. Recently, I found a recipe in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that recommended a great compromise – last minute broiling. It only takes a few minutes, but still gives you that lightly browned top and a bit of a crunch. I added the bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese for that extra crunch. Here’s the recipe:
¾ lb farfalle or elbow pasta
8 ounces extra-sharp or sharp cheddar cheese, grated and divided
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
½ cup plain bread crumbs
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Position an oven rack in the top of the oven. Preheat the broiler (make sure your oven is impeccably clean). Lightly coat an 8×8 inch baking pan with nonstick spray. Prepare the pasta according to the package’s instructions. Meanwhile, set aside ¾ cup of cheese. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and stir in the flour. Continue to cook for 1-2 minutes, until well combined. Slowly, whisk in the milk, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Add the cheese and stir until melted.
Add the drained pasta and stir to coat with sauce. Season to taste with salt and freshly grated black pepper. Transfer mixture to the baking dish and sprinkle with the reserved cheddar cheese, bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Broil until bubbly, approximately 2-3 minutes. Make sure that you watch closely to make sure that the mac and cheese doesn’t overly brown.
Remove from oven and let cook for a few minutes and then serve.