There is nothing better than a home cooked meal, especially after a long week. And if you’re at all like me, and pancakes and pasta are still your favorite foods, then this 30 minute homemade mac & cheese will make your inner child sing.
Macaroni and cheese is probably one of the coolest culinary inventions; some powdered cheese stuff, plus butter and milk, and you get creamy, addictive goodness. But have you ever made it from scratch? And do you know just how easy it is?? In this recipe for homemade mac & cheese, you’ll find loads of veggies, white wine, and a rich, cheesy white sauce that will satisfy your every craving.
Now if you just read that last sentence and are thinking “veggies, white wine….?” My answer is a resounding YES. Why not make homemade mac & cheese that is for adults too?! And if you don’t have these exact vegetables, no worries, use what you have. Carrots would be tasty, sautéed red onion, mushrooms (I still can’t do mushrooms—palate of a child remember?), oooh even a spicy roasted chili would be amazing.
PRO TIP: if you’re using a milk alternative, make sure it has ZERO added sugar. Learn from my mistakes. I accidentally grabbed our coconut milk when I was making the sauce, and well, sweet cheese sauce is just plain gross.
Homemade Mac & Cheese
Yields 3-4 servings
2 1/2 cups dry pasta (choose a noodle with some shape; it holds the sauce better)
1 bell pepper- diced
1 zucchini- diced
1/2 cup frozen peas
2 T. olive oil
1/4 cup white wine
Freshly ground pepper
Chili flakes to taste
1 T. salt
2 T. butter
2 T. flour (I use gluten free 1-to-1 baking flour)
1 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or mixture of your preference)
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. onion powder
Parmesan or cheddar for sprinkling on top
1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the salt to the water followed by the pasta and frozen peas. I usually add a drizzle of olive oil to prevent any sticking. Cook according to the pasta instructions.
2. While the pasta cooks, dice the zucchini and bell pepper and sauté in olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat for about 5 minutes. Add in the chili flakes, pepper and white wine. Cook for 3 more minutes, then turn off the heat.
3. Drain the pasta and peas, reserving a 1/4 cup of pasta water. Add the noodles and pasta water into the hot veggie pan and stir well to incorporate all the flavors.
4. Now at this point you can stop if you’re eating later. Simply allow the pasta and veggies to cool, then cover with a lid. The cheese sauce is best eaten right away, and only takes a couple minutes to whisk together, so you can do that right before serving. Just make sure to reheat the pasta so that it is ready before you start on the sauce.
5. To make the cheese sauce, get all of your ingredients out and have them measured, this is a super quick process that involves constant stirring.
6. Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium high heat, I usually use the pan I cooked the pasta in—less dishes later. When the butter begins to bubble, sprinkle in the flour and whisk quickly. You’ll see it thicken immediately. Add in a splash of milk at a time, whisking non stop. If the sauce is too thin, stop adding milk and continue to stir vigorously, it will thicken. Once it does, add in more milk.
7. After all the milk has been added, and the sauce is thick but still pour-able, turn off the heat, add in the spices and cheese and stir well.
8. Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta and veggie mixture, top with more cheese and enjoy!
***Note that I do not have any added salt, other than in the pasta water. I find cheese to be very salty, so that combo works great for me. Taste and add more as needed.