Panera Mac & Cheese

It's been awhile since I've posted a recipe!  I haven't been real creative in the kitchen recently, nor have I tried many new recipes.  This one, however, I found on Pinterest (from this Smells Like Home blog) and tried a few weeks ago.  It's so good.  Like "I could eat once a week" good!  Even the hubs loves it and he's not one to typically be okay with having just mac and cheese as his dinner.  I made it again last night and it was as good as I remembered, so I thought I'd share!

Copycat Panera Mac & Cheese

  • 16 oz pasta (I used shells the first time, elbow macaroni last night)
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups milk, heavy cream, or half-and-half (I used a mix of heavy cream/milk and half and half/milk...didn't notice a difference in either)
  • 4 oz white American cheese, chopped or torn into pieces (Couldn't find any of this so I used Velveeta Queso Blanco)
  • 8 oz extra sharp white Vermont cheddar, shredded (Just used generic shredded cheddar)
  • 2 tsp – 1 tbsp Dijon mustard (Can't really taste it, but you could omit if it freaks you out)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp hot sauce, like Frank’s
  1. In a large stockpot, cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain well.
  2. While the pasta cooks, melt the butter in a 4-quart sauce pan over medium heat.  When the butter has melted and has started to bubble, whisk in the flour; cook for 1 1/2 minutes whisking constantly.  Gradually whisk in the milk until no lumps remain.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook milk mixture, whisking frequently, until it thickens and bubbles, about 8 minutes.
  3. Remove sauce pan from the heat and by the handful, stir in the cheeses allowing all of the cheese to melt into the sauce before adding more (not sure how important this is...I was impatient and didn't follow the rules and mine turned out fine).  Stir in the mustard, salt, and hot sauce.  Return the sauce pan to the heat and stir in the pasta.  Be sure to stir up the sauce from the bottom of the sauce pan and thoroughly coat all of the pasta with sauce.  Cook for 1-2 minutes over medium-low heat until heated through.
I don't have a picture.  I was too impatient last night and just wanted to eat!  But here's one I found online that looks pretty much like mine did. :)

1 comment:

  1. MMMM, I gotta try this! I LOVE LOVE LOVE Panera's mac and cheese! YUM.