Wednesday, June 30, 2010
For topping (I suggest halving this)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups coarse dry breadcrumbs
1 cup coarsely grated extra-sharp Cheddar
For cheese sauce
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes (I used cayenne pepper)
2 3/4 cups whole milk
3/4 cups heavy cream
4 cups coarsely grated extra-sharp Cheddar
2 teaspoons mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 200°C and butter a 3 litre shallow baking dish. Fill a 6 litre kettle three fourths full with salted water and bring to a boil for macaroni.
2. Melt butter and in a bowl stir together regular bread crumbs and Cheddar until combined well. Topping may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.
3. In a 5 litre heavy saucepan melt butter over moderately low heat and stir in flour and red pepper flakes. Cook roux, stirring, 3 minutes and whisk in milk. Bring sauce to a boil, whisking constantly, and simmer, whisking occasionally, 3 minutes. Stir in cream, Cheddar, mustard, salt, and pepper. Remove pan from heat and cover surface of sauce with wax paper.
4. Cook macaroni in boiling water until al dente. Reserve 1 cup cooking water and drain macaroni in colander. In a large bowl stir together macaroni, reserved cooking water, and sauce. Transfer mixture to baking dish.
5. Sprinkle topping evenly over macaroni and bake in middle of oven 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden and bubbling.