Sunday, January 4, 2015

Macaroni and Cheese
3C whole milk
2 bay leaves
¾ - 1 lb. elbow macaroni
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
5 Tbsp. flour
3C grated cheese, such as Cheddar or Swiss and a combination
1/2C freshly grated parmesan cheese
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1C panko bread crumbs or more to taste

Preheat oven to 400F.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add one tablespoon salt and return to the boil.  Add the macaroni and cook until al dente.  Drain but do not rinse.  Place in a large bowl.

Heat the milk in a small pan with the bay leaves.  Let stand.  In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt 5 tablespoons of the butter; when it is foamy add the flour and cook, whisking, until the mixture thickens.  Remove the bay leaves from the milk and add about ¼ cup of the milk to the hot flour mixture, stirring with a whisk all the while.  As soon as the mixture becomes smooth, add a little more milk and continue to do so until the milk is used up and the mixture is thick and smooth.  Add the cheese and stir in.

Pour the sauce over the macaroni and toss in the parmesan, and season with salt and pepper.  Use the remaining butter to grease a 10-inch rectangular or oval baking dish and turn the pasta mixture into it.  Sprinkle liberally with the bread crumbs and bake until the crumbs turn brown – about 15 minutes.  Serve hot.
MAKES:  8 servings