Noble Rot Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients

Courtesy of Greg Smith, Chef.

  •     1 cup macaroni (we use cavatappi)
  •     4 cups whole milk
  •     1 bay leaf
  •     3 allspice berries
  •     1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  •     1 teaspoon coarse salt or 3/4 teaspoon table salt
  •     5 tablespoons butter
  •     4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  •     2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  •     2 cups grated Tillamook® sharp cheddar cheese
  •     1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
  •   1/2 cup bread crumbs for topping

Directions

In a medium pot, combine milk, bay leaf, allspice, red pepper flakes and salt. Bring to the boil. Meanwhile, combine butter and flour in another saucepan, stir over medium heat until pale gold and there is no "popcorn" aroma.

When the milk is almost to the boil, add the roux and whisk to incorporate. Continue to stir frequently and cook gently for 15 minutes, or until thickened. This sauce wants to stick. Remove from heat. Stir in Dijon mustard, cheddar cheese and parmesan. Adjust seasoning (more cheese, mustard, chili, salt?)

Strain sauce through a fine sieve and reserve (The sauce can be refrigerated for up to five days). Meanwhile bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Boil the noodles until they are still quite firm. Combine the cooked noodles with half the sauce. It should be quite soupy. Add more sauce if necessary.

Reserve the remaining sauce to top broccoli, poached eggs, toast or more noodles. Turn the noodles and sauce into a casserole, top with cheese and bread crumbs and bake for 30-45 minutes at 400 degrees. The top should be golden, cheese should be bubbling around the sides and a skewer, inserted into the middle, should be hot. Serve immediately.

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