Ever since I was a kid, mac & cheese has been my absolute favorite meal. From the smell of the water boiling, to the creamy delicious texture, this meal always brings me comfort and joy. It’s also a relatively cheap and simple recipe that doesn’t take too much time. One of the key components to a good mac & cheese is knowing how to make a rue. When I was a kid and tried to make my own homemade mac & cheese I had no clue how to make a rue and didn’t even realize why it was important. I would just toss in shredded cheese and stir it with the pasta and some milk and hope for the best. Needless to say, my siblings and mom got to try some very … interesting pasta dishes. If you want to skip straight to the recipe click here, otherwise I will share how I make this dish in detail.

Gathering Ingredients

You are going to need pasta (any type of pasta will work, however in the classic mac & cheese, I typically go for an elbow noodle), extra sharp cheddar cheese, all-purpose flour, milk, salted butter, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Because I have ADHD, and am easily distracted, I pre-measure my spices into a little sauce dish so that I won’t forget what I have already put into the mixture or accidentally add in too much or too little of something. I also put the flour into a tiny sauce dish so that it’s ready in advance. It helps my brain stress out less when I’m cooking.

Begin Cooking!

I recommend that you first start by placing a medium saucepan of water on the stove top and bringing it to a boil. *As soon as you’ve poured in your pasta (and set a timer on it), begin melting the butter in a medium to large pan on the stovetop on a medium level heat. Pour the milk into a microwaveable safe container and microwave it for a minute and a half. Don’t forget to stir your pasta every two or three minutes so that it doesn’t stick together in clumps. You can also turn down the stove a few notches once it’s boiling again (with the pasta) to keep it from boiling over.

Once the butter has melted, whisk in the flour and continually stir it for about one minute. As slowly as you can manage, pour the warmed up milk into the pan while mixing it with your other hand using the whisk. This will help it combine more evenly into the butter/flour mixture. Sometimes I ask my husband to pour the milk so that I can hold the pan handle in one hand and the whisk in the other. Leave the temperature of the stove at medium and stir it off and on for the next five or so minutes. The mixture should start to gradually thicken. Check your pasta and drain it once it is fully cooked.

After the sauce is at a good consistency, stir in your salt, pepper, and cayenne seasonings. Then gradually toss in the shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese. You want to slowly mix them in and as they melt into the sauce then add more shreds. Once the cheese is completely melted into the sauce, you can now fold in your pasta.

Serve your mac & cheese and enjoy a delicious meal!

*Note: depending on what type of pasta you choose and how firm or soft you like your noodles (and how quickly your stove heats up), this may need to be adjusted. I am working with elbow pasta, and my husband and I both like our noodles fairly soft. So I have to cook them a few minutes longer than the box recommends. This is why I always start my noodles before making the cheese sauce – because the sauce part only takes about 8-9 minutes.


– 2 cups of pasta
– 2 1/2 cups of milk
– 7-10 oz shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
– 2 Tbsp butter
– 2 Tbsp flour
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 1/4 tsp pepper
– 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Step 1: Bring water to a boil. Start boiling the pasta following the box directions and adding extra time as needed if softer noodles are desired. Stir pasta every 2-3 minutes to keep it from clumping as it boils. Warm up the milk for a minute and a half in the microwave.
Step 2: Melt butter in a medium/large saucepan. Add in flour and stir constantly for 1 minute. Slowly stir in the warmed up milk and stir it on and off for five minutes until the sauce thickens.
Step 3: Add in the salt, pepper, and cayenne and stir to combine. Gradually stir in the shredded cheese until it is all melted into the sauce mixture.
Step 4: Mix in the pasta until it is fully coated in the cheese sauce.
Step 5: Serve!

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