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Classic Mac & Cheese with Gremolata Breadcrumbs

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Ingredients

Gremolata Breadcrumbs:

  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 4 slices Italian bread
  • Small handful flat leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 oz Parmiggiano
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper

White Sauce:

  • 3-4 cups milk (you might need more to get the right consistency)
  • 1 yellow onion, roughly sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Pinch of chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper cloves
  • 1 garlic clove, halved

Roux:

  • 3 oz butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup Gruyere, grated
  • 1/2 cup gouda, grated
  • 1 cup sharp Cheddar, grated
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 8-12 oz elbow macaroni

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.

Gremolata Breadcrumbs:

  1. Put bread, lemon zest, garlic, parm, and olive oil in a food processor.
  2. Pulse until well combined and the parm has become small crumbs.
  3. Add the parsley and pulse a couple of times (you don’t want green bread crumbs).

White Sauce and Roux:

  1. Heat the milk in a small saucepan with all of the milk ingredients, but be careful not to boil it.
  2.  Add butter to another pot and let it melt.
  3. Add the flour, and stir to create a roux (this will give something for the cheese to cling to).
  4. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk.
  5. While whisking, add the hot milk through a strainer and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth.
  6. Off the heat, add the cheese half the pepper, and nutmeg.
  7. Salt to taste.  Stir well.

Assembly:

  1. Cook the macaroni according to package instructions.
  2. Start with about 8 oz and fold into the cheese sauce.  If you like more pasta, add more.
  3. Pour into greased ramekins (or baking dish).
  4. Put the crumbs on top of the mac and cheese, covering the entire top layer.
  5. Bake for 30-45 minutes (depending on ramekins or one large baking dish), or until the sauce is bubbly and the crust is browned on top.
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