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Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for dish
  • 6 slices good white bread, crusts removed, torn into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/4 c grated parmesan
  • 5  cups milk
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1  teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (do taste and add more if you like)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 4  cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese (about 18 ounces)
  • 2 1/2 cups grated Gruyère cheese (about 10 ounces) or 1 1/4 cups grated Pecorino Romano cheese (about 5 ounces) ( I use BOTH!!!)
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni

Directions

  1. Fill a large saucepan with water; bring to a boil. Add macaroni; cook 4-5  minutes, until the outside of pasta is cooked and the inside is underdone. (Different brands of macaroni cook at different rates; be sure to read the instructions.) Transfer macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and put aside
  2. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish; set aside. Place bread in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Pour butter into bowl with bread, Parmesan cheese and toss. Set breadcrumbs aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, heat milk. Melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. When butter bubbles, add flour. Cook, whisking, 1 minute.
  4. While whisking, slowly pour in hot milk. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick.
  5. Remove pan from heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 4 cups cheddar cheese, and 2 1/2 cups Gruyère or 1 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano; set cheese sauce aside.
  6. Stir macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce and stir, tasting and adding spices as needed
  7. Pour mixture into prepared dish. Put prepared breadcrumbs over top. Bake at 375 covered for 20 mins and then uncovered until browned on top, about 30 minutes TOTAL.  Transfer dish to a wire rack to cool 5 minutes; serve hot.

Cook’s Note

You can divide this recipe in half; use a 1 1/2-quart casserole dish.

***Thank you Martha Stewart for guidance in this recipe!!****

******I added diced ham, asparagus and 2 roma tomatoes seeded and diced**** Add whatever!!!

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