Mac and cheese come in endless variations. That may seem like a stretch, but consider the possibilities, from the shape of the pasta to the combination of cheeses. The addition of meats and vegetables adds even more variation while making for a one-pot meal. There are so many possibilities, but the most popular way to make mac and cheese simply combines macaroni with elbow, b├ęchamel, and cheddar cheese. That’s an Italian noodle, a French sauce, and an English cheese. This unique combination of foods somehow results in a delicious dish, which has become a popular and familiar comfort food that endures. The recipe below will tell you how to make a classic macaroni and cheese.

This recipe can be made entirely on the stovetop or baked. If you choose the last route, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Or if you just want the top to be golden brown and crisp, pop it under the broiler for a few minutes.

Ingredients:

-Half pound elbow macaroni

-4 tablespoons or half a stick of butter

-4 tablespoons of flour

-2 cups of warm milk

-salt and other seasonings

-2 or more cups cheddar cheese

-top of your choice

1. Cook the pasta. Bring a pot of water to a boil on the stove. Salt the water until it is as salty as the sea. Add the macaroni, bring the water back to a boil, and cook for as long as the package says. Drain the pasta and reserve.

2. Make a bechamel, also known as white sauce. This starts with a roux, which has equal parts fat and flour. First, melt the butter. Then sprinkle in the flour and stir constantly to avoid burning the roux. To turn this pasta into a white sauce, pour in the warm milk and keep stirring. Add seasonings of your choice. It can be onion powder, herbs, spices, hot sauce, mustard, or Worcestershire sauce.

3. Add the cheese when sauce bubbles and thickens, and stir until cheese is incorporated. Turn off the heat, add the pasta to the pot, and stir to combine. You can serve it now as is or continue cooking in the oven.

To bake, pour the pasta into a greased casserole and top with extra cheese, breadcrumbs, crushed crackers, French fries, or any other topping of your choice. Put it in the preheated oven and bake for about 30 minutes.

Roast, stick filled mac and cheese casserole under broiler until top is golden brown.