Classic Macaroni and Cheese
Source of Recipe
From "One-Hour Comfort" by America's Test Kitchen
"Mac and cheese is a pretty personal dish, and loyalties are formed early in life. Baked or stovetop, custard-based or little more than cheese sauce and pasta, with or without toasted bread crumbs, and of course the cheese choices—there are so many possibilities. This version does most of the work on the stovetop but then finishes under the broiler. A simple mix of flour, butter, and milk creates the silky sauce base; be sure to whisk in the milk gradually to avoid lumps. Sharp cheddar adds flavor and Monterey Jack brings creaminess, and adding them off the heat provides extra insurance against a broken sauce. For a toasty, golden topping, spread fresh buttery crumbs atop the casserole and slide the whole thing under the broiler for a few minutes. It's important to cook the macaroni until tender in step 2—that is, just past al dente. This way, it releases its starch into the cooking water rather than into the cheese sauce. Whole, low-fat, and skim milk all work well. You will need a 13 by 9-inch broiler-safe baking dish."
List of Ingredients
◦ 6 slices hearty white sandwich bread, torn into quarters
◦ 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces and chilled, plus 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
◦ 1 pound elbow macaroni
◦ 1 teaspoon table salt, plus salt for cooking pasta
◦ 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
◦ 1 ½ teaspoons dry mustard
◦ ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
◦ 5 cups milk
◦ 8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (2 cups)
◦ 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups)
Pulse bread and chilled butter in food processor to coarse crumbs, about 10 pulses; set aside. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat broiler. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add macaroni and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring often, until tender; drain macaroni.
Melt remaining 5 tablespoons butter in now-empty pot over medium-high heat. Add flour, mustard, cayenne (if using), and salt. Cook, whisking constantly, until mixture becomes fragrant and deepens in color, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk; bring mixture to boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, whisking occasionally, until thickened, about 5 minutes.
Off heat, slowly whisk in cheeses until completely melted. Add macaroni to sauce and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is steaming and heated through, about 6 minutes. Transfer mixture to 13 by 9-inch broiler-safe baking dish and sprinkle with bread crumb mixture. Broil until topping is deep golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes.
Serves 6 to 8