Updated: Dec 20, 2019
This is the 'World's best Mac n Cheese... according to my husband. He's too kind :) Welllll...it is pretty good! I've used four cheeses that give me a sharp, savoury, creamy balance. The topping is optional but I like the added texture. I prefer to use Panko breadcrumbs because I enjoy the flakiness rather than that powdery texture of regular b. crumbs. If you like your Mac n Cheese very saucy use a little less than 1lb macaroni. I love the original recipe as is but you may add a few things like bacon, jalapenos, chicken pieces, lobster etc.
1lb elbow macaroni
3 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups whole milk or table cream (lukewarm or hot)
1 teaspoon dry mustard
¼ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
¼ - ½ teaspoon cayenne
1/2 tsp paprika
1 bay leaf
½ - 1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon finely grated onion or onion powder
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar
1 cup shredded Gruyere
2-3 cups shredded Mozzarella
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
½ cup Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated
3 tablespoons butter, melted
Cook the macaroni according to its package instructions. Usually around 6-7 minutes. Drain the macaroni in a colander and set aside.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease your baking dish.
In a thick based saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and stir with wooden spoon until well blended and smooth. Cook over low heat stirring, for about 1 minute. Add a 1/3 of milk and keep stirring. Remove from heat and continue stirring. Add another 1/3 of the milk and start whisking it then add the remaining milk, dry mustard, nutmeg, cayenne, paprika, bay leaf, salt and pepper.
Keep stirring over low-medium heat till thickened. Taste for seasoning then remove the bay leaf and stir the cheddar, half cup of the mozzarella and gruyere into the sauce little by little and continue cooking until cheese is melted.
Combine the cheese sauce with the drained macaroni, and spoon half of it into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle a layer of Mozzarella then top that with the remaining pasta.
Sprinkle the remaining Mozzarella cheese evenly over the casserole. For the crumb topping, toss parmesan cheese and bread crumbs with the melted butter then sprinkle over the Mozzarella.
Place under broiler at 350 degrees about 10 minutes, or just broil until lightly browned and bubbly.
YIELD: about 6 - 8 servings