1 Lb. elbow macaroni
3 Tb. flour
3 Tb. butter
Large dash cayenne pepper or 1 Tb. dry mustard
3 C. milk
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. paprika
3/4 lb sharp cheddar, grated
1/4 lb Gruyere, grated
Salt and pepper to taste
3 Tb. melted butter mixed with 1 C. Panko bread crumbs
Preheat your oven to 350. In a large pot, cook the pasta till just al dente. While the pasta is cooking melt the butter in a different saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cayenne or mustard and cook and stir for about 5 minutes. Then whisk in the milk, onion, bay leaf and paprika.
Make sure there are no lumps, simmer for 10 minutes or till it’s thick, then remove the bay leaf.
Stir in ¾ of the cheese, then fold in the macaroni and pour it all into a 2 quart casserole. Top this with the remaining cheese and the buttery crumbs, then bake it for 30 minutes till the top is brown and bubbly.
Let this sit for 10 minutes before serving, and if you want to make it a main dish add a cup of chopped ham – you will be the mac ‘n cheese hero!