- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
- 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Pinch cayenne
- 2 1/2 cups grated Cheddar (about 6 ounces)
- 1/2 cup fine bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon Essence
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 2-quart baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold running water. Drain well.
- Melt the remaining 5 tablespoons butter in a heavy 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour, and stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, cook over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes, being careful not to let the flour brown. Using a whisk, add the milk in a steady stream and cook, whisking constantly, until thick and smooth, 4 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the salt, pepper, cayenne, and 2 cups of the cheese, and stir well. Add the noodles and stir well. Pour into the prepared dish.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese with the bread crumbs and Essence.
- Sprinkle evenly over the macaroni and bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 25 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
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