Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

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Recipe by Denise Santoro Lincoln

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. smallish pasta (such as celentani small penne, or elbow)
  • 1 ½ cups grated and packed Tillamook medium cheddar or Colby cheese
  • 1 cup grated and packed Fontina or Cotswold cheese
  • 1 cup grated and packed Gruyère Parmesan, or aged provolone cheese
  • 2 cups whole milk plus ½ cup to pour in later
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon flour
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • A dash of nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs

Directions

  1. Cook pasta until al dente. Run cold water over it in a colander until it cools. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Butter a large casserole dish.
  3. Grate cheeses and set them aside.
  4. Heat the milk in a sauce pan, being sure not to let it boil. Turn off heat and cover until ready to use.
  5. In a medium sauce pan, melt butter on medium heat. Whisk in the flour when it starts to bubble, making a roux .
  6. Add in the 2 cups of warm milk, whisking to incorporate it into the roux. Warm on medium until small bubbles start to form in the milk.
  7. Turn off the heat and add the Tillamook or Colby cheese, stirring until it evenly melts and becomes smooth.
  8. Add a ½ tsp salt, the nutmeg and the pepper to season.
  9. In a large pot or bowl, mix the cooled pasta with the cheese sauce. Stir until the sauce is completely incorporated. Taste a piece of pasta and add the other ½ tsp of salt and more pepper if desired.
  10. Add in the other two cheeses and gently stir so most of the cheese retains its grated appearance.
  11. Place pasta and cheese in the buttered casserole dish and drizzle the remaining half cup of milk on top.
  12. Spread the fresh bread crumbs evenly on top.
  13. Oil a piece of aluminum foil large enough to cover the casserole dish and tighten it around the sides, oil side down.
  14. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until the cheese starts to bubble up from inside the pasta.
  15. Uncover the dish and bake for another 5-7 minutes or until the top starts to nicely brown and crisp up. Serve immediately.
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