This mac n' cheese is creamy with a small crunch topping. Adjust the spices to suit your tastes. I often add additional cayenne pepper for a bit of a "kick". This recipes serves eight, so you might want to half the ingredients to feed fewer eaters.
1/2 pound elbow macaroni (I often use 5-grain or whole-wheat macaroni)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons flour
3 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Few dashs of cayenne pepper
2 cups grated cheese
For the topping:
1/2 cup grated cheese
1/2 cup fine bread crumbs
2 dashes of the following dried spices:
Preheat over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a 2-quart baking dish with butter and set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until al dente. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold running water. Drain well.
Melt the 5 tablespoons of butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour, and stir constantly with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Take care the flour doesn´t brown. Using a whisk, add the milk in a steady stream and cook, whisking occassionly, until think and smooth (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat. Add salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, 2 cups of shredded cheese and stir well. Pour into prepared baking dish.
In a small bowl, combine the topping ingredients and mix. Sprinkle evenly over the macaroni and bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 25 minutes.