Macaroni and Cheese

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 45 min
  • Prep: 15 min
  • Inactive: 10 min
  • Cook: 20 min
  • Yield: 8 servings (main dish), 10 to 12 servings (side dish)
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Ingredients

Macaroni:

Kosher salt

1 pound elbow macaroni

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

4 cups milk

1 tablespoon yellow mustard

Pinch freshly grated nutmeg

1 pound shredded medium sharp Cheddar (about 4 cups)

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can chicken stock (1 3/4 cups)

Topping

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 cup panko (Japanese coarse bread crumbs), or other bread crumbs

Directions

  1. Position a rack about 6 to 8-inches, from the broiler and preheat.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it generously, and add the elbow pasta and cook until tender but still slightly more firm than al dente (about 5 minutes). Drain the pasta in a colander set in the sink; don't rinse.
  3. Meanwhile, melt 1/4 cup butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Scatter the flour over the butter and mix with a wooden spoon into a paste. Continue stirring in a figure "8" making sure to get into the corners of the pan, until the paste puffs slightly and lightens in color, about 1 minute. Off the heat gradually whisk the milk into the paste. Return to medium-high heat and whisk until thickened, then simmer, stirring occasionally until the sauce has the consistency of heavy cream, about 8 to 10 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Whisk in mustard. On the lowest heat setting, whisk 3 cups of the cheese into the sauce alternating with chicken stock.
  4. Toss the hot pasta with the cheese sauce in a large bowl to coat evenly. Transfer to a dutch oven.
  5. Mix the panko breads crumbs, melted butter, and remaining 1 cup cheddar together; scatter over the macaroni.
  6. Place macaroni and cheese under the broiler and cook until hot and bubbly and the breadcrumbs are brown and toasty, about 2 to 4 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes and serve.
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