Cooking for one can be a challenge. No matter how much I like something, I don't really want to eat it for the next 5 days, ha! What I love about this recipe, is that I can make myself a nice, creamy, single serving of mac & cheese, or I can double or triple it if I want some to take to work or share with a friend! It's soooo much better than that boxed stuff!
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Fill a small saucepan with water, and bring to a boil. Add pasta and let boil about 8 min. or until the pasta is cooked but still firm. Drain & set pasta aside.
In the same saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, onion powder & milk. Whisk until smooth. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly until mixture thickens. Reduce heat to low, and add cheese (at this point you can add the ground mustard, worcestershire, and hot sauce if desired), and stir until cheese melts and mixture is smooth. Stir in the pasta.
Spoon into greased, oven-proof ramekin, soup crock, or small gratin dish. Sprinkle top with cheddar cheese, or bread crumbs if you wish (I use both!). Place on a small baking sheet (in case it bubbles over), and bake for about 10-15 minutes until the cheese is melted and it is heated through.
*Note: There are so many ways you can vary this. You could use sauteed onions instead of the onion powder, or add bacon, etc. Let your imagination run wild! :)