Macaroni and Cheese
This grown-up version of a childhood favorite is a great way to satisfy that deep-seated yearning for melted cheese.
8 tbsp. butter 6 tbsp. flour 1⁄2 tsp. cayenne pepper Salt and freshly ground white pepper 3 3⁄4 cups hot milk 4 cups grated cheddar 1 lb. short macaroni, cooked 1⁄2 cup heavy cream 1⁄2 cup fresh bread crumbs
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Melt 6 tbsp. butter in a medium stainless-steel saucepan over low heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about 4 minutes (flour mixture must foam as it cooks, or sauce will taste of raw flour). Stir in cayenne and season to taste with salt and pepper. Whisk in hot milk, 1/2 cup at a time, and cook, stirring, until sauce thickens. Reduce heat to low and stir in 2 cups of cheese. Cook, stirring, until cheese melts, about 2 minutes.
2. Combine pasta and sauce in a large bowl, and season with salt. Sprinkle 1/2 cup cheese over the bottom of a buttered 8" × 11" baking dish. Place one-third of the pasta in the baking dish, top with 1/2 cup of cheese, then repeat, layering pasta and cheese, ending with cheese, making three layers in all.
3. Pour cream over assembled macaroni and cheese. Melt remaining butter in a skillet. Add bread crumbs, coat with melted butter, and sprinkle over macaroni and cheese. Bake until crust is golden, about 30 minutes. Allow to rest for 15 minutes before serving.
This recipe was first published in Saveur in Issue #18