Spicy Baked Mac ‘n Cheese
From All the Best Recipes:
Prep time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 25-30 minutes
Rest time: 5-10 minutes
2 cups dried macaroni (I ran out so I used small bowties that I usually use in soups)
¼ cup butter
½ small onion, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
¼ cup all purpose flour
Pinch cayenne pepper
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 cups milk (you might need more if you like it creamier)
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
Parsley Crumb Topping: (Makes 1 ½ cups)
1 ½ cups fresh coarse white bread crumbs (I used Panko crumbs)
2 tbsp Italian/flat leaf parsley, chopped
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper
3 tbsp butter, melted
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF/180°C, and lightly oil or butter a 11”x7” (2L) baking dish and set it on a foil lined, rimmed baking sheet for easy clean ups.
2. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente (about 1 minute less than the directions call for, the pasta will continue to cook in the oven). Drain and set aside.
3. In the meantime in a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until soft and transparent. Add the flour, cayenne, salt & pepper and sauté for an additional 2 minutes.
4. In a small saucepan, heat the milk over medium heat until steaming. Once the flour mixture is ready, slowly add the hot milk, whisking briskly until the sauce is smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheeses until well blended and the cheese has melted.
5. Return the drained pasta to its pot (no need to dirty another vessel) and add the cheese sauce. Gently stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning.
6. Prepare the breadcrumb topping: - in a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, parsley, salt, pepper and cayenne. Pour the melted butter over it and toss to coat the bread crumbs evenly.
7. Pour the macaroni and sauce into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle the parsley breadcrumb mixture over the top. Bake until the sauce is bubbling (25 minutes or so). Broil for a minute or two to brown the top.
8. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.