Macaroni & Cheese
½ pound macaroni, cooked – 2 cups dried
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1¼ cups milk, heated
Pinch cayenne (optional)
Freshly ground pepper
1½ cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
- Preheat the oven to 375°.
- Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.
- Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste cooks and bubbles a bit, but don’t let it brown — about 2 minutes.
- Add the hot milk, continuing to stir as the sauce thickens. Bring it to a boil.
- Add salt and pepper to taste, lower the heat, and cook, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes more.
- Stir in ½ cup grated Cheddar cheese during the last 2 minutes of cooking, along with a pinch of cayenne pepper.
- Remove from the heat.
- Butter a 1 ½-quart casserole.
- Put the cooked macaroni into the casserole, pour the cheese sauce over it, and mix gently with a fork.
- Sprinkle the grated cheese evenly over the top and spread the crumbs over the cheese.
- Bake, uncovered, until the top is golden and the sauce is bubbling, about 30 minutes.