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Photo: Lindsay Hunt

At Food Republic, we aim to provide you with recipes that even a kitchen rookie can master, thus our category called “The Basics.” These are dishes we feel every cook should have a strong grasp of before venturing on to tackle more intense and advanced recipes. The best culinary schools in the world work in much the same way. You start by learning basic knife skills, simple ratios, and the mother sauces that can then be applied to a plethora of recipes and transformed into an endless array of dishes. After you get through “The Basics” you’ll have the knowledge to transform these dishes into so much more.

The trick with a basic mac-n-cheese is to achieve that Zen-like balance of melted cheese and soft noodle goodness. Then to bring it on home, there’s gotta be a nice little crunch, brought on by a subtle dusting of breadcrumbs. It’s tricky at first, and it might take a few stabs before you get it right, but once you do, you’ll never go back to the box (unless you’re in a hurry). Oh yeah, if you really want this dish to rock, head over to our how-to make bechamel sauce primer. Good luck, gentlemen.

Is your mac-n-cheese better? Really? Shut up! No, seriously, tell us why in comments.