Easy Baked Mac and Cheese: Your Complete Guide

Easy Baked Mac and Cheese: Your Complete Guide

Think back to the best plate of creamy pasta that you've ever had. Remember the steam that rose upward as you scooped out your portion. Picture the cheese pull, dripping and delicate, as you brought that first indulgent forkful to your lips.

Truly great mac and cheese are more than just a meal. It's an experience, combining both art and science. Luckily for you, making the best homemade mac and cheese is about as easy as cooking gets!

Our favorite part is that you can use your favorite Dagostino handmade pasta shapes as part of our crowd-pleasing mac and cheese recipe! Are you ready to make your blissful recollections of this decadent favorite a reality? Keep reading for a complete guide to whipping up mac and cheese like a professional, even if you tend to burn water!


    The Best Shape for the Job

    Regardless of the cooking method you choose, all great mac and cheese begin with great pasta. Many have argued that there is an ideal pasta shape when it comes to making mac and cheese. Luckily, Dagostino has options that can appeal to your palate, whether you're a purist or looking to experiment!

    Our first suggestion will always be our small shell pasta. The surface area will be evenly coated with creamy cheese sauce and adhere right to the ridged exterior. The shell's center will fill with an extra burst of cheesy goodness in every single bite!

    If you're looking for pure surface area, the clear winner is our handcrafted, air-dried rotini pasta. The corkscrew shape of these "small wheels" will hold onto the maximum amount of cheese per piece of pasta. They are the gold standard when it comes to baked mac and cheese.

    Those who are feeding a group of kids cannot go wrong with our quick-cooking alligator-shaped pasta! They're a subtle, family-friendly way to show your Louisiana pride. Consider using this pasta shape if you're cooking for a crowd before an LSU vs. University of Florida game and every sports fan will be charmed - and well-fed!

     


    Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe

    If you're a fan of a steamy baked mac and cheese, you'll want to begin with what we consider the best mac and cheese recipe out there! To get started, you will need to gather the following ingredients.

    • One package (16 oz) of Dagostino Pasta
    • 4 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
    • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
    • 2 cups low fat milk
    • 1 1/2 Tbsp butter, cubed

    You will start by greasing your 9 x 13 pan or casserole dish. While you preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, you can begin preparing your pasta using the directions on the package. Different pasta shapes may have slightly different cook times, so always refer to the instructions on the package when preparing this recipe!

    While the pasta is cooking, you can use your time to begin combining ingredients for the cheese sauce. Separate 2 1/2 cups of your shredded cheddar and mix it with flour, salt, and pepper.

    Once the pasta has cooked, drain it and add it to your cheese mixture while it is still hot. Stir it together to combine. Add it to your greased casserole dish or pan and spread it out to fill the bottom.

    You will pour the entire two cups of milk over the pasta and cheese, and top the entire thing with the remaining cheese. Take your cubed butter and place it evenly around the surface of the mixture.

    Cover the entire pan or dish with aluminum foil and place it in your preheated oven for 45 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the foil and continue baking. You will know it's done when the top is a beautiful golden brown!

    If you can wait, let it sit for about ten minutes so it can firm up! If you make it the full ten minutes, dig in! Your delicious mac and cheese are ready to devour!

    Creamy Baked Mac and cheese 1


    Crockpot Mac and Cheese Recipe

    We told you that we had a recipe ideal for those of you who struggle with the most basic kitchen tasks! If baked mac and cheese seems daunting, our Crockpot set-it-and-forget-it recipe is an excellent alternative! You don't even need to cook the pasta in advance!

    You will need:

    • One package (16 oz) of Dagostino Pasta
    • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
    • 12 oz evaporated milk
    • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
    • 1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper
    • 1/4 cup butter, cubed

    You will prepare this mac and cheese in a 5-7 quart slow cooker or Crockpot. Prepare the Crockpot by greasing or spraying the interior.

    The next step couldn't get any easier. You'll add just about everything directly to the Crockpot!

    Add the pasta (you really don't need to cook it first!), the milk, the cheeses, and the seasoning. Top it with cubed butter.

    Cover the Crockpot and cook on low for one hour, then remove it and stir. Since slow cookers vary, your delicious, creamy mac and cheese might be ready to eat at this stage! If it's not done, continue cooking, and check on it every thirty minutes or so.

    You will know that it's done when the pasta is tender and a creamy sauce has formed! The sauce will continue to thicken and firm up after you remove the lid. Again, give it a good ten minutes before serving!

    Voila! You are ready to enjoy the creamiest pasta in the world! Take your portion first - it tends to disappear!

    Creamy Baked Mac and cheese 2


    Your Creamy Pasta Dreams Are a Reality!

    No matter which method you choose, you cannot go wrong with a creamy pasta dish prepared with any one of Dagostino's pasta shapes. When you choose Dagostino Homemade Pasta, you are supporting authentic Italian pasta made right in the United States. All of our pasta is egg-free, with no preservatives or additives, so you can enjoy your mac and cheese without wondering about mystery ingredients!

    Once you try one of our delicious mac and cheese recipes, you'll be ready to make Dagostino pasta a regular part of your meal rotation. Visit our online store to check out all of our handmade pasta, made fresh in Baton Rouge. Bon appetite! 

    Creamy Baked Mac and cheese 3