My daughter, Rachel, and I just made a batch of this as a practice run for tomorrow’s IndyStyle cooking segment, and all we want to do is eat it. Since we don’t have enough time to make it and bake it on the air, this one is supposed to show the finished product toward the end of the segment. I’m going to have to start smacking hands to keep my kids out of it!
It really is super yummy, and not hard at all to make. This makes a huge batch, so feel free to halve it if you don’t want leftovers for a second (or third) meal. Or, you can make two 8×8″ pans and put one in the freezer before baking.
In salted water, cook one 16-oz. package of elbow macaroni according to package directions; drain.
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. flour
Melt butter over medium heat, then add flour. Whisking constantly, cook until bubbly; then, cook (still stirring) for another minute.
2 c. milk (preferably not skim)
Slowly add milk to butter mixture, whisking constantly.
couple dashes hot sauce
1 tsp. yellow mustard (or ground mustard)
2 cloves minced garlic
Stir until combined, then bring to a low simmer (sauce will be thickened, slightly less than a pudding).
Remove from heat, then stir in:
3 c. grated cheese (sharp cheddar is my favorite)
Stir until cheese is melted.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Pour over pasta; mix well.
Pour into buttered 9×13 baking dish.
Top with cracker crumbs, if desired.
Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes–or until bubbling around edges.