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Maccheroni & Cheese

Maccheroni & Cheese

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Adapted from Gourmet magazine, August 2007

For topping
1/4 stick unsalted butter 
1 cup panko (coarse Japanese bread crumbs)
3/4 cup extra-sharp Cheddar, coarsely grated
1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano, coarsely grated

For pasta and sauce
1 stick unsalted butter
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 cups whole milk
1 lb (6 cups) extra-sharp Cheddar, coarsely grated
1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano, coarsely grated
1 lb penne or rigatoni 

Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle.

Make topping:
Melt butter, then stir together with panko and topping cheeses in a bowl until 
combined well.

Make sauce:
Melt butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat and stir in flour.
Cook roux, stirring, 3 minutes, then whisk in milk a little at a time. Bring sauce
to a boil, whisking constantly, then simmer, whisking occasionally, 3 minutes.
Stir in cheeses, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper until smooth.
Remove from heat and cover surface of sauce with wax paper.

Make pasta:
When the pasta water is boiling, add 1 to 2 handfuls of coarse salt, stir to dissolve,
and then add the pasta. When the pasta is al dente, discard pasta water except for
1/2 cup. Stir together pasta, reserved cooking water, and sauce in the pasta pot.
Transfer to a buttered 91/2″-by-12″ baking pan.

Sprinkle topping evenly over pasta and bake until golden and bubbling,
20 to 25 minutes.

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