December 2, 2012

Panera Style Mac & Cheese


I came across this recipe a few months ago on Panera'a recipe page and knew I had to save it for a future dinner. Last week, I had dinner at Panera and noticed the large serving sells for $7.99. That sounded really high for mac and cheese, so I pulled up the recipe and decided to make it for dinner tonight. GET THIS-- it cost me a grand total of $5.16* for all of the ingredients. It makes 6 servings, so that comes to $0.86/serving!!! Talk about markup...

This dish was sooo easy to make. The most time consuming part was grating the cheese ...and the dishes/clean up. Once the pasta is boiled, be ready to rock and roll and eat it within the next 10 minutes!

*This price doesn't include things I already had in my pantry (flour and salt) and fridge (butter, milk, and mustard) that you most likely already have too.

Recipe adapted from Panera Bread
Yield: 6 servings

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 (16-ounce) box of pasta shells
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2½ cups milk (I used 2 cups half and half and ½ cup skim milk)
  • 1 cup Italian blend cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup Extra-Sharp White Vermont Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Kosher salt, to taste 
DIRECTIONS
  1. Prepare pasta according to package directions.
  2. Melt butter over low heat. Whisk in flour and cook 1 minute, whisking constantly.
  3. Gradually whisk in milk; cook over medium heat, whisking until mixture thickens and bubbles. Remove from heat.
  4. Add cheeses, mustard, and salt, stirring until cheese melts and sauce is smooth.
  5. Stir in pasta and cook over medium heat for 1 minute (or until thoroughly heated).

Enjoy :)

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