A Sunday Sauce Made With Love—& Lots of Pancetta

Our latest contest theme, Your Best Dish Made With Love, highlighted recipes with special meaning: Whether transported to a gathering of family or friends or served at home, we were looking for that special dish that exuded love and caring. From casser…

Our latest contest theme, Your Best Dish Made With Love, highlighted recipes with special meaning: Whether transported to a gathering of family or friends or served at home, we were looking for that special dish that exuded love and caring. From casseroles and soups to braises and stews, we ate our way through dozens of delicious recipes—and ones with heart-rending stories, to boot.

With such a wide range of recipes to choose from, it wasn't easy to narrow things down. At the end, it came down to AntoniaJames' The Cuban—succulent pulled pork on a homemade roll, perfectly balanced with spices and herbs—and ItalianEnough's Long-Distance Ragù, a pork ragù cooked so low and slow that every bite was like a hug.

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An A-to-Z Guide to Every Single Type of Pasta

The only dictionary I want to read is the A-to-Z guide of pasta. There are so many different shapes, ranging from long, thin strands to tube-shaped pasta, that the category really needs its own dictionary. This list is not nearly exhaustive, as there are, as I said, so many different shapes of pasta. But these 30 types of pasta are the most popular. These are the ones you’re likely to find in your regular grocery store or served as part of a pasta dish at an Italian restaurant, the ones that will make you think, “I’ve heard of that, but I don’t know what it is.” Well, now you’ll know!


A Guide to Popular Types of Pasta

Angel Hair

Angel hair is a quick-cooking, super thin noodle that is sometimes sold under the name “capellini.” Capellini literally translates to “thin hair,” but angel hair has a nicer ring to it, don’t you think?

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The only dictionary I want to read is the A-to-Z guide of pasta. There are so many different shapes, ranging from long, thin strands to tube-shaped pasta, that the category really needs its own dictionary. This list is not nearly exhaustive, as there are, as I said, so many different shapes of pasta. But these 30 types of pasta are the most popular. These are the ones you’re likely to find in your regular grocery store or served as part of a pasta dish at an Italian restaurant, the ones that will make you think, “I’ve heard of that, but I don’t know what it is.” Well, now you’ll know!


A Guide to Popular Types of Pasta

Angel Hair

Angel hair is a quick-cooking, super thin noodle that is sometimes sold under the name “capellini.” Capellini literally translates to “thin hair,” but angel hair has a nicer ring to it, don’t you think?

Read More >>

Our 44 Best Vegetarian Pasta Recipes Of. All. Time.

If I got stuck on a desert island, I would ask to take my toothbrush, a two-quart pot, and a lifetime supply of spaghetti (whole-wheat, please) plus tomato sauce (Marcella Hazan’s or this buttery no-cook number). As a vegetarian, I eat pasta an astonis…

If I got stuck on a desert island, I would ask to take my toothbrush, a two-quart pot, and a lifetime supply of spaghetti (whole-wheat, please) plus tomato sauce (Marcella Hazan's or this buttery no-cook number). As a vegetarian, I eat pasta an astonishing number of times each week, relying on it for just about everything.

Do I need a quick and convenient dinner? There's a pasta for that. Am I trying to impress my boyfriend's family? I turn to pasta, too. Am I feeling a little down? Who but pasta could see me through? Pasta's also the perfect vehicle for many vegetables, when I don't really feel like eating vegetables (yes, even vegetarians have this problem).

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The 5 French Mother Sauces Every Cook Should Know

The five French mother sauces are: Béchamel, Velouté, Espagnole, Hollandaise, and Tomato. Read on to learn how to make each one.

In the 19th century, Marie-Antoine Carême anointed Béchamel, Velouté…

The five French mother sauces are: Béchamel, Velouté, Espagnole, Hollandaise, and Tomato. Read on to learn how to make each one.


In the 19th century, Marie-Antoine Carême anointed Béchamel, Velouté, Espagnole, and tomato sauce as the building blocks for all other sauces in his work L'Art de la Cuisine Française au Dix-Neuvième Siecle. Later on, Hollandaise got added to the family. Since then, many people consider others sauces—sweet and savory from all around the world—as unofficial extended relatives of these five sauces.

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“World’s Best” Mac & Cheese

I don’t know about you, but there are a few things I need to get off my chest. One is that I can’t think of any time when I don’t want Mac & Cheese. And two, long before the advent of the internet recipe (and food blogs), words like “world’s best” weren’t considered clickbait. They were a declaration by magazines, newspapers, and cookbooks that whatever…

I don’t know about you, but there are a few things I need to get off my chest. One is that I can’t think of any time when I don’t want Mac & Cheese. And two, long before the advent of the internet recipe (and food blogs), words like “world’s best” weren’t considered clickbait. They were a declaration by magazines, newspapers, and cookbooks that whatever dish that was being presented really was the best version they came up with.

Back in the day, when you said it, you meant it. (Even if, as everybody knows, there isn’t just one “best” way to cook or bake anything. Whatever exists, there’s always something that comes along that’s better, cheaper, faster, slower, etc.) But nowadays recipe headlines scream “Life-Changing Cauliflower,” or “Help! I can’t stop eating these Oreo-stuffed Red Velvet cupcakes,” or my least-favorite, “Top Ten Brownie Recipes…According to Amazon Reviews.” I’ve eaten a few life-changing foods in my life, and I’m not stuffing anything into something else and deep-frying it (unless it’s fried chicken stuffed with more fried chicken), nor do I have a lot of faith in a curated selection of anonymous online reviews.

Continue Reading “World’s Best” Mac & Cheese...

Stuffed Shells

These stuffed shells are saucy, cheesy comfort food at its best. I love the contrast of the chewy pasta with the creamy ricotta filling, and marinara – store-bought or homemade – is the perfect tangy accent for both. After I eat one helping…


These stuffed shells are saucy, cheesy comfort food at its best. I love the contrast of the chewy pasta with the creamy ricotta filling, and marinara – store-bought or homemade – is the perfect tangy accent for both. After I eat one helping, I always find myself back in the kitchen, unable to resist the allure of seconds. These stuffed shells are just that good! This stuffed shells recipe is easy to make (and make ahead!), and it’s great for serving a group. If you’re hosting a dinner party or get-together this season, it would be a fantastic dish to […]

Extra Cheesy Homemade Mac and Cheese

This incredibly creamy and cheesy homemade mac and cheese is great on its own or a jumping off point for your own customization.

The post Extra Cheesy Homemade Mac and Cheese appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I have several flavored macaroni and cheese recipes on Budget Bytes already, but I realized I didn’t have one single plain, classic homemade mac and cheese recipe. Like, nothing fancy or unique, just straight up creamy, comforting, cheesy goodness! So that’s what I have for you today. It’s a classic stovetop macaroni and cheese recipe made with a classic roux-based cheese sauce that will satisfy all of your cheesy pasta cravings. It’s amazingly delicious on its own, but I’ve also included a list of fun add-ins and other ways you can customize your mac and cheese and make it unique.

Overhead view of a bowl of mac and cheese with a fork

What Makes it Extra Cheesy?

For this extra cheesy homemade mac and cheese, I did use slightly more roux and added about 30% more cheese than I generally do to my simple stovetop mac and cheese recipes. And I’m not even sorry about it. The thicker sauce and extra cheese made this mac and cheese so lusciously creamy and cheesy that I couldn’t stop sneaking forkfuls between photographs. AND the best part is that it even stays smooth and creamy when reheated in the microwave. Mac and cheese heaven! 🙌

What is a Roux?

This classic stovetop mac and cheese recipe starts with a roux, which is a cooked mixture of flour and fat (in this case, butter). The roux thickens the sauce and helps the cheese melt smoothly into the sauce instead of clumping up as it melts. While there are ways to make a cheese sauce without a roux, taking this extra step definitely creates the creamiest, dreamiest cheese sauce for your mac and cheese.

What Kind of Cheese is Best for Mac and Cheese?

Cheddar is probably the most popular cheese for macaroni and cheese and sharp cheddar provides the most pronounced flavor. But if you want to experiment outside of the confines of cheddar, there are a ton of other cheeses that are great in macaroni and cheese! You can use one or a combination of cheeses to make your mac and cheese your own.

Here are some other cheeses that work great with macaroni and cheese:

  • Parmesan
  • Gruyere
  • Smoked Gouda
  • Parmesan
  • Chevre
  • Cream Cheese
  • Brie
  • Monterey jack or pepper jack

Avoid Pre-Shredded Cheese

I know it’s convenient, but the anti-caking agents used in pre-shredded cheese will, without a doubt, affect the creaminess of your homemade mac and cheese. Or in a worst-case scenario, it will leave your sauce super grainy and chalky in flavor. Buy cheese in block form and take a few moments to grate it yourself. The cheese will not be as dried out and it will create a truly smooth and creamy sauce.

Side view of mac and cheese in a pot

What Else Can I Add to Mac and Cheese?

Here’s where mac and cheese can get really fun. In addition to changing the cheeses, you can switch up the herbs and spices, add in some veggies, or your favorite protein to make your own homemade mac and cheese creation. Here are some other fun ingredients to add to your mac and cheese:

  • Cooked chicken
  • Broccoli
  • Bacon
  • Spinach
  • Kimchi
  • Pesto
  • Sausage
  • Taco meat or taco seasoning
  • Smoked paprika
  • Sriracha
  • Peas
  • Tuna
  • Salsa
  • Rotel
  • Jalapeños
  • Sour cream
  • Cauliflower
  • Ham

Need Some Inspiration?

If the list of add-ins was a little too much to choose from, here are some other Macaroni and Cheese Recipes that I’ve already created that might help get you started:

Overhead view of homemade mac and cheese in the pot
Overhead view of homemade mac and cheese in the pot

Homemade Mac and Cheese

This incredibly creamy and cheesy homemade mac and cheese is great on its own or as a jumping off point for your own creation.
Total Cost $4.19 recipe / $1.05 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 about 1.25 cups each
Calories 610kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. macaroni $0.67
  • 3 Tbsp butter $0.30
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour $0.03
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder $0.05
  • 2 cups whole milk $0.84
  • 1/2 tsp hot sauce* $0.02
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.03
  • 8 oz. block sharp cheddar, shredded $2.25

Instructions

  • Cook the macaroni according to the package directions (boil for 7-8 minutes, or until tender). Drain the macaroni in a colander.
  • Place the butter, flour, and onion powder in a medium pot. Whisk and heat over medium until the butter is melted and the mixture begins to bubble. Once bubbling, continue to whisk and cook for one minute.
  • After cooking the butter and flour roux, whisk in the milk. Continue to cook and whisk over medium heat until the milk begins to gently simmer, at which point it will thicken to the consistency of heavy cream or gravy.
  • Turn the burner off. Season the white sauce with the salt and hot sauce.
  • Begin to add the shredded cheddar, one handful at a time, whisking it in until completely melted before adding more. Continue until all of the cheese has been melted into the sauce. If the sauce becomes too cold to melt the cheese, place it back over low heat only briefly to continue melting the cheese. Overheating the sauce can cause it to break and become grainy.
  • Add the cooked and drained pasta to the pot with the cheese sauce and stir to combine. Serve the mac and cheese hot and enjoy!

Notes

*This amount of hot sauce does not make the macaroni and cheese spicy. It just  brightens the flavor a bit. You can also accomplish this with Dijon mustard (same amount).

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 610kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 32g | Sodium: 787mg | Fiber: 2g
side view of macaroni and cheese in a bowl with a fork

How to Make Homemade Mac and Cheese – Step by Step Photos

Shredded cheddar in a bowl

Start by shredding an 8oz. block of sharp cheddar. It’s very important to shred the cheese yourself instead of using pre-shredded cheese. For more information on that, see the section above the recipe titled “Avoid Pre-Shredded Cheese.”

boiled macaroni held above the pot with a pasta spoon

Next, boil 8oz. of macaroni according to the box directions (boil for 7-8 minutes, or just until tender). Drain the macaroni in a colander. (This is the Barilla elbow macaroni, which has a slightly unconventional elbow shape and texture.)

Butter flour and onion powder in the pot

You can start the cheese sauce either while the macaroni is boiling, or wait until it’s draining and just make it in the same pot to save on dishes. Add 3 Tbsp butter, 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour, and ½ tsp onion powder to the pot.

Roux being whisked in the pot

Place the pot over medium heat and allow the butter to melt. Whisk the butter, flour, and onion powder together as the mixture begins to get bubbly and frothy. Cook and whisk for about one minute after it becomes bubbly.

Milk being poured into the pot

Whisk 2 cups of milk into the butter and flour roux. Continue whisking as the milk begins to heat (keep the pot over medium heat).

Thickened white sauce on the back of a spoon

Allow the milk to come up to a gentle simmer, at which point it will thicken to the consistency of heavy cream or gravy. Turn the burner off at this point.

salt and hot sauce added to the white sauce

Season the sauce with ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp hot sauce, or the seasonings of your choice (other great options are dry mustard, pepper, smoked paprika, pesto, etc.).

shredded cheddar added to the pot

Begin adding 8oz. shredded cheddar to the pot, one handful at a time, whisking until it is completely melted before adding more. If the sauce cools down too much to continue melting the cheese, you can put it over low heat briefly, but avoid allowing the sauce to simmer again. Overheating cheese sauces will cause them to break and become grainy and oily.

Finished cheese sauce dripping off the whisk

When all of the cheese is melted into the sauce, the cheese sauce is complete. You can give it a taste at this point and adjust the seasonings if you’d like. Remember, you want the sauce to be seasoned well because the flavor intensity will be diluted a bit once the macaroni is added.

Cooked macaroni being stirred into the cheese sauce

Add the cooked and drained macaroni back to the pot and stir to combine with the cheese sauce.

Finished mac and cheese in the pot

And that’s it! Your homemade mac and cheese is done. Don’t tell me you don’t want to dive right into that pot of mac and cheese and swim around a bit. 😂

The post Extra Cheesy Homemade Mac and Cheese appeared first on Budget Bytes.

When Everything’s Wrong, Only Baked Pasta Feels Right

Lasagna, like all baked pastas, is a dish that suggests being warm inside on a cold day. It is the kind of food that numbs pain and softens edges, turning a sharp and bitter world toward small, sense-based pleasures. The blurring effect of heavy carbs …

Lasagna, like all baked pastas, is a dish that suggests being warm inside on a cold day. It is the kind of food that numbs pain and softens edges, turning a sharp and bitter world toward small, sense-based pleasures. The blurring effect of heavy carbs on the nervous system is much the same as a blasting radiator. And in a certain kind of cold weather, sometimes it’s hard to know if food is actually good, or just warm. Baked pasta is almost always both, but sometimes the temperature matters as much as the taste. That warmth itself, as a key ingredient in baked pasta, points to how these dishes act as a material form of unconditional love.

I started making lasagna, mac and cheese, baked ziti, and other variations on the theme about a year ago, during an uncertain fall that chilled into an oppressive winter. I love cheese and pasta and always have, but I hadn't made them myself all that often until 2020. It seemed like these sorts of dishes required an occasion, a big family holiday with a heaving table. Dare I make one in my own home, on any normal day of the year, just because I wanted to show someone I loved them, or feel like I was loved? Just because I wanted the brain-smoothing comfort of a vat of pasta and cheese? I dared.

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Creamy Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff (GF Optional)

Say hello to your new favorite pasta! This vegan mushroom stroganoff is the ultimate creamy, hearty, comforting dish, and we’re so excited to share it with you! It’s savory and classic, but with a creamy cashew twist to keep it plant-based and options …

Creamy Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff (GF Optional)

Say hello to your new favorite pasta! This vegan mushroom stroganoff is the ultimate creamy, hearty, comforting dish, and we’re so excited to share it with you! It’s savory and classic, but with a creamy cashew twist to keep it plant-based and options to make it gluten-free, too. 

Made with just 10 simple ingredients, it’s an easy entrée for the holidays or to enjoy any time you’re craving comfort on a plate.

Creamy Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff (GF Optional) from Minimalist Baker →

25 Best Dutch Oven Recipes

‘Tis the season of cozy soups, comforting stews…and holiday shopping. If you’re thinking about treating yourself or a loved one to a new piece of kitchen equipment, let me recommend a Dutch oven! This type of heavy-duty pot might seem…


‘Tis the season of cozy soups, comforting stews…and holiday shopping. If you’re thinking about treating yourself or a loved one to a new piece of kitchen equipment, let me recommend a Dutch oven! This type of heavy-duty pot might seem like a specialty item, but if you cook often, I promise, you’ll use it daily. In fact, I always have one perched on my stovetop, ready and waiting for the next time I cook a soup, pasta, sauce, or whatever other Dutch oven recipes I might have up my sleeve on a given day. Speaking of Dutch oven recipes, I’ve […]