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It's officially sweater weather, soup season, and the time of the year where all I want to do is nest the crap out of our house and eat carbs and cheese. I really don't enjoy bitterly cold weather, but I do love the coziness it brings. And this deeeelish saucy/cheesy/sinful mac is the epitome of cozy nights in.

 the cheesiest mac and cheese

You can pick any types of cheese and pasta shapes you want, but what I used was cellanani (you could also use campanelle) and a mixture of sharp cheddar and havarti cheeses. Grate them on your own or buy them pre-shredded โ€” cheese is cheese, in my book.

 ingredients for gourmet mac and cheese

It might seem like a lot of steps, but this big-batch mac situation is absolutely worth your while. Turn on some jazz, pour yourself a glass of wine, and prepare your mind and body for a totally mind-blowing meal.

 freshly shredded sharp cheddar and havarti cheeses

Oh, and don't skip the bread crumbs. You can find these in the bread aisle or, in some stores, in the baking or Italian food aisles. 

 panko breadcrumbs on mac and cheese

1 lb pasta (cellantani, campanelle, or cavatappi)
1/2 cup (one stick) butter
1/2 cup flour
4 cups whole milk
6 cups shredded cheese (i like sharp cheddar and havarti โ€” try gouda or white cheddar too!)
1 tbsp salt
freshly cracked pepper
2 tbsp butter (for the bread crumbs)
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

1. boil pasta in generously salted water according to package directions. when it's just about ready, melt butter in another medium saucepan over medium heat. whisk in flour and cook 203 minutes. add in salt and as much pepper as you prefer. slowly add the milk, whisking until smooth, and heat to a low boil โ€” don't stop this process until it's thickened. remove from heat.
2. grease a 9x13 glass baking dish. add hot pasta, then sprinkle all of the cheese on top. pour the creamy sauce on top and stir together to coat and melt all of the cheese. (if you're scared of making too much of a mess, do this part in a biiiig bowl. otherwise just know you'll probably have to wipe down a bit.)
3. melt the remaining 2 tbsp butter in your pasta pot over medium heat and add in the breadcrumbs. stir constantly until golden brown. pour over the mac mixture.
4. bake in a 325 degree oven for 13-15 minutes. ENJOY.

 creamy mac and cheese
 cheesy gourmet mac