Layer cooked macaroni with butter, milk, two kinds of cheese, and a little cayenne for a spicy kick. Assemble this casserole ahead of time and bake when ready to serve. User Alex suggests cooking it a little longer than suggested if you like the edges to get crispy and browned.
1 pound elbow macaroni
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the dish
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups whole or low-fat milk
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) grated Cheddar
2 cups (8 ounces) grated Gruyère
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
How to Make It
Heat oven to 350° F.
Cook the macaroni according to the package directions.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle the flour over the top. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Still stirring, slowly add the milk. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened, about 7 minutes. Add the Cheddar, Gruyère, salt, and cayenne (if using) and heat until the cheeses melt.
Drain and rinse the macaroni. Add it to the sauce and toss. Transfer to a buttered casserole. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
In Advance: Assemble the macaroni and cheese but do not bake it. Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Bake as directed, adding 15 to 20 minutes to the cooking time.