- 1/2 lb pasta such as small shells, macaroni or rotini
- 1 tbsp good quality unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 cup low-fat milk
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, Recommended: Cabot’s Seriously Sharp
- 1/4 tsp dry ground mustard
- kosher salt, to taste
- Fill a pot with water and set it on a burner on high heat. Bring to a boil and add the pasta. Stir, and reduce heat to medium.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once it’s completely melted, add the flour. Whisk well to combine, using a rubber spatula or a spoon to scrape the sides, as needed. Continue, whisking constantly, until the flour is fully combined with the butter and turns a light amber color.
- Whisk in the milk and continue whisking until the roux (flour/butter mixture) is fully incorporated. Continue cooking, whisking two or three times, for two minutes.
- Add the cheddar cheese and dry ground mustard. Whisk well to combine. Remove the pan from the burner.
- Taste the sauce and season, as necessary, with salt.
- By now, the pasta should be done cooking (be sure to drain it immediately to keep it al dente). Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta and stir well to combine. Let sit for 5 minutes. Stir again, and then serve immediately.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of several cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.