The Ultimate Macaroni and Cheese
Difficulty level: 2/4 | On the clock: 1 hour | Servings: 6
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound elbow macaroni
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground mustard
3 cups cold whole milk, divided
4 cups grated cheddar cheese, divided
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup breadcrumbs
Butter for greasing the pan and the parchment paper
Finely sliced spring onions (optional garnish)
1. Bring one gallon of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons of salt and 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
2. Add the macaroni and cook until just tender (al dente), about 8 to 10 minutes.
3. Drain the macaroni in a colander. Rinse with cool water until the pasta is cool to the touch, then drain. Transfer to a shallow bowl or pan and chill in the refrigerator while making the sauce.
4. Melt the butter in a medium pot over medium heat.
5. Add flour and mustard, and stir. Allow to bubble, and stir occasionally for several minutes. As soon as it starts to brown slightly on the bottom of the pan, add half the milk all at once. Stir until it thickens.
6. Gradually stir in the rest of the milk and simmer for at least 8 minutes,
7. Reduce heat to low and stir in 3 cups of cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
8. With a rubber spatula, fold the cheese sauce into the cooked macaroni, and transfer to a shallow buttered baking dish.
9. In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup of breadcrumbs with 1 cup of cheese. Sprinkle the mixture in an even layer on the macaroni and cheese. Cover with buttered parchment paper.
10. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
11. Warm the covered baking dish in the oven to an internal temperature of 145 degrees (about 30 minutes depending on the depth of the baking pan).
12. Remove the parchment paper, and turn the oven to 400. Bake until there is some brown color on top of the macaroni and cheese. Sprinkle with spring onions and serve hot.