Andy was in New York on Monday, so for Meatless Monday I made something that he doesn't love but the rest of us do: classic mac & cheese. (Yes, I know I complain that Meatless Monday invariably ends up being some variation on pasta and cheese, but, well, it's soooo good.) I mostly used Mark Bittman's recipe. It was delicious right out of the oven, but leftovers the next day were just eh, so make this for a group that will eat it all at once.
Macaroni and Cheese
2½ cups milk
1 pound elbow macaroni
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1½ cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup bread crumbs
Heat the oven to 400°. Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. When small bubbles appear along the sides, about 5 minutes later, turn off the heat and let it stand.
Cook the pasta in the boiling water to the point where you would still think it needed another minute or two to become tender. Drain it, rinse it quickly to stop the cooking, and put it in a large bowl.
In another small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat; when it is foamy, add the flour and cook, stirring, until the mixture browns, about 5 minutes. Add about ¼ cup of the hot milk to the hot flour mixture, stirring with a wire whisk all the while. As soon as the mixture becomes smooth, add a little more milk, and continue to do so until all the milk is used up and the mixture is thick and smooth. Add the cheddar and stir.
Pour the sauce over the pasta, toss in the Parmesan, and season with salt and pepper. Dump the pasta mixture into the prepared baking dish. Top with bread crumbs and bake until bubbling and the crumbs turn brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve piping hot.