Classic Baked Macaroni & Cheese

Every Monday, I make Macaroni & Cheese for a school, for 10 years. I can only image how much macaroni I’ve boiled – 10 lbs per week. I guess you could say that I’m fairly good at it. However, this recipe is NOT the school recipe. That one is done on the stove top and this recipe is baked with breadcrumbs. Let’s face it, there is nothing better than mac n’ cheese.

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Classic Baked Macaroni & Cheese

Serves 6-8

Kosher salt
6 Tbs unsalted butter
6 Tbs all-purpose flour
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 qt whole milk
1 bay leaf
3 cups grated extra-sharp white Cheddar
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp Tabasco sauce
Freshly ground white pepper
1 lb elbow macaroni or other small pasta
2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 lightly packed cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the oven to 400°F and put a large pot of well-salted water on to boil over high heat.

Meanwhile, in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add flour and ½ tsp salt and cook, stirring, until slightly darker, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the mustard.Switch to a whisk and gradually add the milk, whisking constantly. Discard the bay leaf. Add the cheese, stirring until melted, and then add the Worcestershire and Tabasco. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm, stirring occasionally.

Cook the pasta in the boiling water until al dente. Pour into a colander and shake it a few times to drain really well. Add the pasta to the cheese sauce, and stir until well combined. Generously season to taste with salt and pepper. Lightly oil a 9×13-inch baking dish and spread the pasta in the dish.

In a medium bowl, toss the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil. Scatter the crumbs evenly over the pasta.

Bake in the center of the oven until the crumb topping is golden, about 15 minutes. Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

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