From Megan McArdle:
As the ingredients below attest, this is really, really not good for you. But it's worth it. Also, it will give you an opportunity to use your scale
1 pound rotini
12 tablespoons butter, softened
6 tablespoons of flour
2 cups of whole milk
1-2 cups of heavy cream (you may replace one cup of the cream with 1 small container of sour cream)
2 pounds of good sharp cheddar, grated
1/2 pound of gruyere, grated
3 Kraft American singles
2 slices of Kraft provolone
1 teaspoon dry mustard
Pinch of paprika
Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
Fresh ground black pepper
Panko (japanese bread crumbs--if you can't find these, use unseasoned Four-C ones, but the panko make a nicer crust)
(optional for those who like it spicy)
Dash of cayenne pepper
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
Preaheat the oven to 375. Boil the pasta in a large pot of water with a tablespoon of salt. Do not be tempted to use a smaller pot because it makes the water boil faster; without dilution, the accumulated gluten will make the pasta sticky and slightly off-tasting. When it is cooked to slightly more al-dente than you would normally eat it, drain and return to the pasta pot. Don't forget to take the pot off the burner if you've got an electric stove--we're doing crispy noodles next week.
Meanwhile, make your white sauce with the butter, flour, milk, and cream, according to the instructions in my old macaroni and cheese recipe--the one I used before I learned that a little bit of processed cheese goes a long way.
Grate all of the cheeses, including the American cheese, in your food processor. If you don't have a food processor with a grater attachment, grate the gruyere and chedder, and chop the other cheeses fine.
In one bowl, mix 1.5 pounds of cheddar with 1/3 of a pound of gruyere, and all of the American and provolone. In another bowl, take the box of panko and mix it with the remaining cheddar and gruyere, and 3 tablespoons of soft butter.
When the white sauce is finished, stir in the spices, except for the salt and pepper, and the larger portion of cheese. Salt and pepper to taste.
Combine the cheese sauce and the pasta in the pasta pot. Meanwhile, use the remaining butter to well grease a large casserole (or two smaller ones, or adorable little ramekins like they serve at E). At this point, if you want to make ahead, you can refrigerate the bread crumbs and macaroni mixture separately, in well-covered dishes, for up to a day.
When you're ready to cook, top the macaroni mixture with the panko and cover the dish(es) with tinfoil. Bake, covered, for 40 minutes (60 minutes if it has been refrigerated). Uncover and bake for another 20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and crispy looking.
I think I know what will be on the menu sometime in the next couple of weeks. Cue the simethicone and Lipitor!