Mozzarella Stick Mac and Cheese
Mozzarella stick mac and cheese combines all of the goodness of a mozzarella stick, including a layer of breadcrumbs, mozzarella, and marinara sauce, resting on top of creamy, white cheddar macaroni.
For the Mac and Cheese
- 3 cups uncooked macaroni noodles
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 3.5 cups milk
- 0.5 cups cream
- 2 cups shredded white cheddar shred yourself, do not use pre-shredded
- 1 cup mozzarella shred yourself, do not use pre-shredded
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 0.5 tsp salt or more, to taste
For Everything Else
- 250 g fresh mozzarella log cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 1 cup marinara or pizza sauce
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 2 tbsp melted butter
- 0.5 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 0.5 tbsp dehydrated parsley
For the Mac and Cheese
In a large pot of salted water, boil your pasta according to package directions. Cook for one minute less than the package states if you like your pasta more al dente. While the pasta cooks, preheat your oven to 350F.
In a large saucepan, melt 4 tbsp. of butter on medium heat. Once the butter has melted, whisk in the 4 tbsp. (1/4 cup) of flour, mixing constantly.
Once the butter and flour are mixed and begin to form a paste, SLOWLY add the milk and cream. Stir constantly! Add the salt and onion powder and mix well. Keep cooking this mixture on medium heat until it begins to thicken and gently bubble.
Once the roux is gently bubbling and has thickened up a little bit, turn off the heat. Now, add your 3 cups of cheese and stir gently. Turning off the heat and just allowing the heat from the roux to melt the cheese helps prevent the cheese form getting stringy.
Add your cheese mixture to the noodles once all the cheese has melted and incorporated. Stir gently and pour into a butter, oven-safe dish: 2.5 qt or 9-inch baking dish.*
Place the 1/4-inch slices of fresh mozzarella atop the macaroni. Then, spread one cup of marinara or pizza sauce on top.
For the Panko Topping
Melt 2 tbsp. of butter and mix with one cup of panko bread crumbs, 0.5 tbsp. Italian seasoning and 0.5 tbsp. of dehydrated parsley.
Add the panko topping on top of the mac and cheese, fresh mozzarella, and marinara. Cover, and bake for 30 minutes at 350 F. Let sit for about five minutes before serving, then dig in!
- *If you use a different size dish than 2.5 qts or 9-inch baking dish, you'll have to adjust some ingredients. For a bigger dish, you'll need more breadcrumbs, marinara, and fresh mozzarella if you want the same consistency.
- The mac and cheese may seem really creamy (almost soupy) when you first make it, but it thickens up once it's baked!