For those of us who grew up eating Kraft Mac and Cheese, this should be very familiar. We kept things simple and avoided eggs and cream. To amp up flavor, use sharp cheddar and monterey jack and a bit of cayenne.
Serve with hot sauce and/or celery salt. For a decadent variant, saute fresh mushrooms in butter, add a few drops of il Fustino Truffle oil and blend mushrooms in with the cheese mixture.
3 slices, hearty white sandwich bread – torn into quarters
2 tablespoons, unsalted butter – cut into 4 pieces and chilled
5 tablespoons, unsalted butter
1 pound, elbow macaroni – Barilla is best
6 tablespoons, all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons, dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon, cayenne pepper
5 cups, whole milk
8 ounces, Monterey Jack cheese – shredded (2 cups)
8 ounces, sharp cheddar cheese – shredded (2 cups)
- Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat broiler. The top of the dish will need to be about 8 inches below the broiler to prevent burning the crumb topping.
- Pulse bread and chilled butter in food processor until coarsely ground, 7 to 10 pulses; set aside.
- Bring 4 quarts water to boil in Dutch oven. Add macaroni and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring often, until tender. Drain macaroni and set aside in colander.
- Melt remaining 5 tablespoons butter in now-empty pot over medium-high heat. Whisk in flour, mustard, cayenne, and 1 teaspoon salt and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in milk until smooth. Bring mixture to boil, reduce heat to medium, and cook, whisking occasionally, until thickened to consistency of heavy cream, about 5 minutes. Off heat, whisk in cheeses until fully melted. Add macaroni and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until steaming and heated through, about 6 minutes.
- Pour mixture into 13 by 9-inch broiler-safe baking dish. Top with bread-crumb mixture and broil until crumbs are deep golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes, rotating dish if necessary for even browning. Let rest for 5 minutes. Serve.