My Favorite Mac and Cheese

This is a Martha Stewart recipe that was a regular Mark and Tony recipe until their big diet, that I adapted a little and made for Mom’s birthday because Mark told me she loved it, only to discover on her birthday that she DIDN’T like it, but now she does . . . confused? So am I!

Adapted from Martha Stewart’s recipe.

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for dish
6 slices sourdough French bread, torn into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces (I use my food processor to chop up the bread)
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
5 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
4 1/2 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese (about 18 ounces)
2 cups grated Gruyere cheese (about 8 ounces) OR 1- 1/4 cups grated Pecorino Romano cheese (about 5 ounces)
1 pound elbow macaroni

Directions

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish; set aside.

Fill a large saucepan with water; bring to a boil. Add macaroni; cook 2 to 3 minutes less than manufacturer’s directions, until the outside of pasta is cooked and the inside is underdone. Transfer macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well.

Place bread in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Pour butter into bowl with bread and Parmesan, and toss. Set breadcrumbs aside.

In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, heat milk. Melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. When butter bubbles, add flour. Cook, whisking, 1 minute.

While whisking, slowly pour in hot milk. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick.

Remove pan from heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 3 cups cheddar cheese, and 1 1/2 cups Gruyere or the Pecorino. Stir macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce.

Pour mixture into prepared dish. Sprinkle remaining 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup Gruyere or 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano, and breadcrumbs over top. Bake until browned on top, about 30 minutes. Transfer dish to a wire rack to cool 5 minutes; serve hot. Yum! Yum! Eat it up!

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