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Macaroni and Cheese

Basic bechamel is made of milk, thickened with flour and butter; add grated cheese to create Mornay sauce -- the key to creamy, crowd-pleasing mac and cheese. This recipe is adapted from the "Martha Stewart's Cooking School" cookbook.

Macaroni and Cheese

Photography: DAVID M. RUSSELL

Source: Martha Stewart's Cooking School, Episode 102

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound dried elbow macaroni
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Italian fontina cheese
  • 2/3 cup finely grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1 2/3 cups finely grated extra-sharp white Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of white pepper

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add pasta; salt generously and cook pasta to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well.

  2. Melt butter in a 4-quart pot over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until bubbling but not browning, about 45 seconds. Add milk and whisk to combine. Bring to a simmer, stirring with a wooden spoon (scrape across the bottom and around edge of pot to prevent scorching), until thickened and smooth. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.

  3. Add fontina, Gruyere, Cheddar, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses, stirring until completely melted and sauce is smooth. Season with salt and black pepper, add cayenne and nutmeg, and stir to combine.

  4. Add pasta to sauce along with white pepper and salt; stir to thoroughly combine. Serve immediately.

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