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This recipe looks amazing (I wish I could get my hands on some of that garlic cheddar, it sounds incredible). I'm planning on doing a mac & cheese for thanksgiving this year and I'm a little indecisive about which one to go with. I've tried a few of your recipes (most notably, the fontina mac & cheese, which is now one of my go-to recipes). I was wondering which recipe for mac & cheese you'd pick as the, let's say, "definitive" recipe :)

Ingredients:

For crumb topping:
  • 4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups Panko Japanese bread crumbs
  • 3 Tablespoons chopped fresh chives
For pasta and sauce:
  • 1 head garlic
  • Olive oil
  • 1 pound uncooked pasta (such as cavatappi, shells or rigatoni)
  • 1 stick (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 6 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 5 cups whole milk
  • 5 1/2 cups coarsely shredded cheddar cheese (white, yellow or a mix of both)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Instructions


  1. Make the crumb topping:
  2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs and chives, stirring to combine. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes until toasted slightly. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Make the pasta and sauce:
  4. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
  5. Slice the top one-third off the head of garlic. Place the bottom portion on a piece of foil, drizzle it with olive oil, and season it with salt and pepper. Place the top portion back on the head of garlic and crumple the foil to create a sealed packet. Roast the garlic for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove the roasted garlic from the oven and squeeze the cloves into a bowl. Using a fork, mashing the cloves into a paste. Set aside.
  7. Cook the pasta in a large pot of well-salted water until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Butter a 13x9-inch shallow baking dish.
  8. In a large, heavy saucepot (such as a Dutch oven), melt 1 stick butter over medium-low heat. Stir in the flour and reserved garlic paste. Cook the roux, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes until golden. Whisk in the milk. Bring the sauce to a boil, whisking constantly, then reduce it to a simmer and let it cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the shredded cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, mustard powder, salt and pepper until well combined.
  9. Add the pasta and the reserved 1/2 cup of pasta water to the pot, stirring to combine. (It will be soupy.) Transfer the macaroni and cheese to the buttered baking dish. Sprinkle it with the reserved crumb topping and place it on a sheet tray (in the event it bubbles over while baking). Bake the macaroni and cheese for 20 to 25 minutes until it's golden brown and bubbling.


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