Making this sheet pan macaroni can be broken down into three phases:
- Boiling the macaroni until it’s less than al dente.
- Making a very thin bechamel using equal parts water and milk.
- Baking it all together with a layer of garlicky, herbed, buttered breadcrumbs. Once you have the method down, you can get creative with the additions, cheeses, breadcrumb seasonings.
- 3/4 pound elbow macaroni
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 6 oz fresh bread to be pulsed into crumbs (3 cups once pulsed)
- parsley, a medium to large bunch
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups (4 ounces) Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
- 1 cup (8 oz) Fresh Mozzarella, diced into small cubes
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a tablespoon of kosher salt. Boil macaroni for about 5 minutes or for 2 minutes less than the box’s suggested al dente time. (For example, my macaroni box said ‘al dente perfection’ in 7 to 9 minutes. I boiled mine for 5.) Drain. Do not rinse. Set aside.
- In the same large pot, melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat. Add flour, whisking constantly for about a minute. Add milk and water, whisking to remove any of the flour-butter mixture from bottom of pan. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and gently simmer. Add 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until mixture begins to thicken, about 20 minutes. Note: the mixture will not get super thick, but it will coat the back of a spoon, and if you run your finger through the coating, the trail should stay — see photo. Remove from the heat.
- Meanwhile, melt remaining 4 tablespoons of butter stovetop or in microwave. Pulse bread in food processor to make crumbs. Measure 3 cups and place in a mixing bowl. Add parsley (it’s ok if the tender stems are included — use the top 3/4 or so of the bunch) and garlic to food processor. Pulse until fine, then add to bowl with breadcrumbs. Season with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Pour butter over top and mix with spatula until combined.
- In a large mixing bowl, toss macaroni with grated Parmigiano Reggiano — it’s ok if the noodles are sticking together; they will separate once the béchamel is poured over top. Pour the béchamel over top and stir to mix.
- Line a jelly roll pan with a sheet of parchment paper. Spread macaroni mixture over top. Distribute mozzarella cubes over top. Scatter breadcrumb mixture evenly over top.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until top is golden and the macaroni is bubbling. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hours
- Category: Pasta
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: baked, sheet pan, mac n' cheese, pasta, vegetarian