Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Copycat Recipe: Noodles & Co. Wisconsin Mac & Cheese

Every other Monday, I go into Salt Lake with Becky and Trey because they have an appointment with the orthodontist to have their braces adjusted.

After the orthodontist appointment we hurry to have lunch before their teeth start hurting. Trey's favorite place to go is Noodles & Company.  The first time he suggested going there, I turned up my nose. I couldn't imagine a restaurant where only noodles are served. But having eaten there plenty of times now, it has become one of my favorite restaurants.

I've tried several of their dishes but I've narrowed it down to two favorites, and I always seem to choose one or the other. The first is Pad Thai. I love the crunchy bean sprouts, vegetables and peanuts. Sometimes I add shrimp to kick it up a bit.

But my very favorite dish to order is Wisconsin Mac & Cheese. It's so good!  It's different from any mac and cheese I've ever had. There is a light, but creamy cheese sauce in the bottom of the bowl,  macaroni on top, and finally it's topped off with shredded cheddar cheese. It's truly divine.

I found a copycat recipe online, so Becky and I gave it a try for dinner last night. Of course, it wasn't exactly like we get a noodles, but it was close. Greg deemed it the best macaroni and cheese he'd ever eaten. I agree it was really good.

Image from Noodles & Co website

Noodles & Co. Macaroni and Cheese (copycat)

1 lb. macaroni
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
3 cups milk
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups shredded monterey jack cheese
shredded cheddar cheese

Cook macaroni according to directions on package. Set aside.
In saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour until well combined. Slowly stir in milk, and whisk until thickened. Add salt and remove from heat. Add monterey jack cheese and stir until melted.

My notes:
This makes a lot of sauce. Also, the original recipe calls for half and half instead of milk. But according to the comments where I found this recipe, we chose to use whole milk instead of half and half because it was said the mixture becomes too thick. After making the recipe once, Becky and I have decided 2% milk would work even better. The sauce is not supposed to be thick.

To serve, as they do at Noodles & Co,  spoon desired amount of sauce in bowl, followed by pasta on top of that. Then top with shredded cheddar cheese.  The sauce should not overwhelm the pasta, so use caution to not add too much sauce.


Anonymous said...

I think I ate at Noodles & Co. in December 2009 with my sister, niece and her husband. I wish I could remember where it was located, but I really don't know my way around SLC. But it was very good! (Provided that is where I ate, LOL).


Ryan and Mistie said...

So.....which Monday are you going to stop in and say Hi to Ryan? :O)

heehee He's off to the windy city this week... but he's around most Mondays. Let me know if you want directions for a future visit.

Oh, and did you get donuts?

Anonymous said...

Half and half makes the sauce richer. if you want it thinner, you can more half and half, a little at a time, whisking as you do, until it's the consistency you like. Or you can add milk to your half and half sauce to thin it out instead of more half and half. I prefer using half and half or cream when making cream sauces and soups, and use milk to thin, sometimes, Rather than rely on measurements, I go by taste, texture, and appreance.

Anonymous said...

Hey, the resipie I made today was this one, it was really bad. I forgot to add 3 cups of cheese and I accedentaly added only two. The flour made it grainy as I have had this grainy texture before. Doesn't taste like the real thing, but thanks for trying to decode the recipie. :)

ccfalcons said...

Love this recipe! Thank you so much for sharing :)

Anonymous said...

Made this--AMAZING!! Thank you so much for sharing. Pretty close to Noodles and Co.

Manda said...

Thank you for the recipe! Noodles and Company is my favorite thing to eat but my husband is offended by paying so much for pasta (I think it is price appropriate). It came very close to my favorite dish, the Wisconsin Mac & Cheese.

I used whole wheat elbows, 1 cup half and half with 2 cups 1% milk because that is what we drink, and two 8 ounce bags of Kraft Triple Cheddar shredded cheese, saving out 1 cup for the topping. I mixed the noodles right into the sauce pot. Next time I will make about a cup extra sauce and toss some chopped broccoli and cauliflower to the macaroni in the last few minutes of cooking time.

To the poster who said it was grainy, it sounds like you did not cook your flour in butter long enough. To make roux, I melt the butter over medium heat, stir in the flour, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. If you don't cook flour it tastes grainy and floury.

Thanks for giving us a great base for a creamy, not too heavy, yummy, stove top version of my favorite comfort food! I look forward to trying different cheeses, and I estimate this dish cost about $7 to feed 6 people with hearty portions and seconds for some.

Anonymous said...

My daughter is a mac and cheese 'snob.' :) we just can't get her to eat it if it's not from noodles. We aren't about to foot the bill for that once a week. I made your recipe last night and she ate it all up! It tasted exactly the same to me!!! Thanks you so much for coming up with this. It's going on to the favorite list at home.

Kristy said...

I don't really follow exact amounts on recipes I follow the outlines, this one turned out great for me no problem with it being too thick or grainy as other reviews have said. I really like it and do did my husband thanks for the recipe I love noodles and company!!

Kristy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Wholly macaron that was good! Thx for the recipe!