Anybody can make Krapft Mac & “Cheese.” This stuff is so good it takes four REAL cheeses.
Hat tip: My friend John Paulk of Mezzaluna Fine Catering, in Portland, Ore.
- 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups whole milk
- GRATED CHEESE!
- 1 3⁄4 cup sharp cheddar
- 1⁄4 cup smoked Gouda
- 1⁄4 cup Jack or Swiss
- 1⁄4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1⁄2 cup onion, finely minced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 tsp. dried mustard
- 1 pinch freshly ground nutmeg
- 1⁄2 tsp. smoked paprika
- 8 oz. elbow macaroni or penne
- (This isn’t a mistake) MORE GRATED CHEESE!
- 1⁄2 cup sharp cheddar
- 1⁄2 cup smoked Gouda
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 cup of the following (use just one or two of them):
- Cooked thick slab bacon, sliced
- Diced country ham
- Diced prosciutto ham
- Sautéed red and yellow peppers
- Sautéed mushrooms
To prepare sauce, melt butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat then add the onions and garlic. Cook for 2–3 minutes then and whisk in the flour. Continue whisking and cook for 2 minutes. Slowly add milk, whisking constantly. Cook until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Add cheeses, salt, nutmeg, and paprika. Stir until cheese is melted and all ingredients are incorporated, about 3 minutes. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350°. Butter or oil an 8‑inch baking dish. Cook pasta for 2 minutes less than package directions. (It will finish cooking in the oven.)
Rinse pasta in cold water and drain well.
Combine pasta and sauce in a medium bowl; mix carefully but thoroughly.
Next throw in your desired add-ins. Dump the pasta into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle top with cheeses and the panko. Bake, covered with foil for 20 minutes.
Remove foil and bake for another 12 minutes or until panko is golden. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.