As the weather gets cooler, everyone heads indoors to keep cozy and warm. What better way to keep cozy on the inside than with a steaming pan of homemade macaroni and cheese? Gather together friends and family and serve up this beloved dish with a twist, adding a bit of zip by topping it with crushed up Little Rooster Garlic and Herb Crunchers. Our Crunchers add not only an extra punch of flavor but a delicious crispy crust atop the smooth creaminess of your homemade cheese sauce. This dish goes well with a variety of favorite mac and cheese mix-ins, such as crumbled bacon, steamed broccoli, sautéed mushrooms, and caramelized onions. Customize this classic to suit those gathered around your table.
This recipe is a perfect fall treat that will warm you up from the inside out!
Mac and Cheese with a Zesty Cruncher Crust
3 cups whole milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt or 1 teaspoon table salt
1/2 pound dried elbow or other short-cut pasta
1 1/2 cups grated good quality extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 cup Little Rooster Garlic and Herb Crunchers
To begin, make the béchamel sauce, which will serve as the base for your cheese sauce. Heat the milk in a small pot over medium heat until it just starts to bubble, but not boil, and remove from the heat and set aside. Melt the butter over medium heat in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. When the butter has just melted, add the flour and whisk constantly until the mixture turns light brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Slowly pour the hot milk, about 1 cup at a time, into the butter-flour mixture, whisking constantly. Once all the milk has been added, place the pot back over medium-high heat and continue to whisk constantly for the next 2-3 minutes, until the sauce is silky and thick, and can coat a spoon. Add the salt, whisk to combine, and set 2 cups of this sauce aside. (You will have an extra cup of béchamel, which can be used for another dish.)
Using a plastic bag and a rolling pin, crush 1 cup Crunchers to your desired crumb consistency. You may also crush them by hand, if you prefer larger pieces of Crunchers in your crust. Set aside.
Add both shredded cheeses to the remaining two cups of béchamel sauce and stir over medium-low heat, until the cheese is mostly melted, then take off the heat and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Cook the pasta in salted boiling water, until a little less than al dente. Drain, rinse, and drain again. Add the cooked pasta into the warm cheese sauce and stir well. Pour into a buttered 9×13 dish and evenly spread the crushed Crunchers on top. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the topping is browned and crispy and the pasta is creamy and bubbling.