Monday, March 2, 2009

The Ultimate Mac-and-Cheese

The BEST homemade mac-n-cheese!!

3-4 slices hearty white sandwhich bread, torn into large pieces
8 tbsp. butter (1 stick) 4 tbsp. melted
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 lb. elbow macaroni
5 tbsp. all purpose flour
3 (12-oz.) cans evaporated milk
2 tsp. hot sauce
⅛ tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. dry mustard
2 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1¼ cups American cheese, shredded
¾ cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350°.

Pulse bread, melted butter, and Parmesan in food processor until ground to coarse crumbs. Transfer to bowl.

Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and macaroni to boiling water and cook 6 mintues. Reserve ½ cup of the macaroni cooking water, then drain and rinse macaroni in colander under cold running water. Set aside.

Melt remaining 4 tablespoons buter in now empty pot over medium-high heat until foaming. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture turns light brown, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in evaporated milk, hot sauce, nutmeg, mustard, and 2 teaspoons salt and cook until mixture begins to simmer and is slightly thickened, about 4 minutes. Off heat, whisk in cheese and reserved cooking water until cheese melts. Stir in macaroni until completely coated.

Transfer mixture to a 9 x 13 inch baking dish and top evenly with breadcrumb mixture. Bake until cheese is bubbling around the edges and top is golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Let sit for 5 mintues before serving.

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