Maxed-Out Mac n Cheese

This recipe has actually been sitting in my draft box since Thanksgiving. Yeah... talk about a slacker. Because it's been sitting, unfinished, for nearly 7 months, the full recipe has gotten a little lost in translation. BUT, I can share the inspiration recipe with you! Enter Martha Stewart and her "Perfect Macaroni and Cheese". To try and be as simple as possible, I'll stick with her recipe and make note of the things I changed. 6 slices good-quality white bread, crusts removed, torn into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces {I used whole wheat bread} 6-8

tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for dish 5 1/2 cups milk 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 4 1/2 cups (about 18 ounces) grated sharp white cheddar {regular sharp cheddar works great too!} 2 cups (about 8 ounces) grated Gruyere or 1 1/4 cups (about 5 ounces) grated pecorino Romano {duh... gruyere!} 1 pound elbow macaroni

Cheese and spices and super goodness!!!!

Instead of following dear Martha's instructions for the breadcrumbs, I toasted the bread and zapped it in the magic bullet with some choice seasoning until finely crumbled.

Heat milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Melt 6 tablespoons butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. When butter bubbles, add flour. Cook, stirring, 1 minute.

Slowly pour hot milk into flour-butter mixture while whisking. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick.

Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 3 cups cheddar, and 1 1/2 cups until it turns into an ooey gooey cheese sauce, then set aside.

Cook macaroni according to instructions {since some brands cook at different rates}, drain, and stir into cheese sauce.

HOLY YUM.

Pour into casserole dish, sprinkling the top with remaining cheese and finally with the breadcrumbs.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are golden and happy! Serve and bask in the glory of your family's praise of your culinary genius!

This is such a great dish for special occasions or just random Tuesday nights! The cayenne gives it a bit of a kick so if you're not into spicy dishes you may want to tone it back or take it out completely.

Until next time...

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