Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
1 stick unsalted butter, (plus more for greasing pan)
6 slices white bread, crusts removed
5 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons coarse salt, plus more for water
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 1/2 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese
2 cups grated Gruyère or 1 1/4 cups grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 pound elbow macaroni
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Grease a glass dish (bottom and all sides) with butter; set aside.
3. Tear pieces of bread into 1/4- to l/2-inch pieces. Place the bread in a medium bowl.
4. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Pour the melted butter into the bowl with the bread, and toss. Set the breadcrumbs aside.
*Shortcut: put the bread shreds in a large ziploc bag, pour the butter in the bag, and shake it up! This evenly coats the bread and makes one less bowl you have to clean.
5. Warm the milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
6. In a high-sided skillet, melt the remaining 6 tablespoons butter over medium heat. When the butter bubbles, add the flour. Cook, stirring, 1 minute.
7. While whisking the butter and flour, slowly pour in the hot milk a little at a time to keep mixture smooth. Keep on the stove, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick, 8 to 12 minutes.
8. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 3 cups cheddar cheese, and 1 1/2 cups Gruyère (or 1 cup Pecorino Romano); set the cheese sauce aside.
9. In a large covered pot, bring salted water to a boil.
10. When the water is boiling, add macaroni and cook until the outside of pasta is cooked and the inside is underdone, about 2 to 3 minutes.
11. Pour macaroni into a strainer, rinse under cold running water, and drain well.
12. Stir the macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce.
13. Pour the mixture into the buttered glass dish.
14. Sprinkle the remaining 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup Gruyère (or 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano), and the breadcrumbs over the top.
15. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes (time may vary depending on your oven)
16. Let cool for five minutes, then eat!