The Best Macaroni and Cheese I've Ever Made

We make a lot of mac and cheese at my house.  Not the orange, powdery mac and cheese, but the real stuff.  The winter makes mac and cheese some how imperative in one’s weekly diet.  Well, maybe not at your house, but it most definitely is at ours.

Despite my endless attempts at making totally fabu mac and cheese (and believe you me, there have been more than a few), I can hands down say that this weeks most recent recipe was a superb victory.  Resplendent with creamy, gooey cheddar, topped with buttery panko breadcrumbs.  The recipe is simple, straightforward, and ridiculously divine.  

The Best Macaroni and Cheese Ever
1 (8-ounce) package elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
2 tablespoons butter
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large saucepan, melt the 2 tablespoons of butter, add the garlic and cook until the garlic is softened, about 2 minutes.  Add the onion powder, then whisk in the flour and milk, then cook until slightly thickened.  Add three cups of the cheddar cheese and stir until melted in the mixture.  Toss the cheese mixture with the cooked pasta, salt and pepper to taste.  Stir the remaining grated cheese into the pasta.  Spoon into a large baking dish. 

In a small bowl, stir together the breadcrumbs and melted butter.  I always like to add a bunch of freshly ground pepper and a sprinkling of sea salt to this mixture.  Spread over the pasta.  Bake in a preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown.  Serve with fresh sliced tomatoes and a big glass of chocolate milk.  Just because.

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