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Macaroni and Cheese - serves 12.

8 tbs unsalted butter, plus more for dish
6 slices good white bread, crusts removed torn into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces
5 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
4 1/2 cups (about 18 oz) grated sharp white cheddar cheese
2 cups (about 8 oz) grated Gruyere or 1 1/4 cups (5 oz) Pecorino Romano cheese
1 pound elbow macaroni

Heat oven to 375. Butter a 3 quart casserole dish; set aside.
Place the bread in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over medium
heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Pour butter into bowl with bread,
and toss. Set the crumbs aside.

In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, heat the milk. Melt
remaining 6 tbs butter in a high sided skillet over medium heat.
When butter bubbles, add flour. Cook, stirring, 1 minute.

While whisking, slowly pour in hot milk. Continue cooking, whisking
constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick. Remove
pan from heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper,
3 cups cheddar cheese, and 1 1/2 cups Gruyere or 1 cup Pecorino
Romano; set cheese sauce aside.

Fill a large saucepan with water; bring to boil. Add macaroni; cook
2-3 minutes less than manufacturer's directions, until the outside
of the pasta is cooked and the inside is underdone. Transfer the
macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain
well. Stir macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce.

Pour mixture into prepared dish. Sprinkle remaining 1 1/2 cups
cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup Gruyere or 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano, and
bread crumbs over top. Bake until browned on top, about 30 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool 5 minutes, serve.


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