Macaroni and Cheese

Classic comfort food. Perfect for blustery winter nights.

Macaroni and Cheese

8 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups hot half-and-half
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 cup white cheddar
1 cup mixed feta, asiago, and smoked gouda
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Additions: 1/2 cup crispy bacon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cook the macaroni according to package directions; it should be tender but not mushy. Pour the macaroni into a colander and immediately rinse with cold water. This will keep the macaroni from sticking. Set aside.

Melt half the butter and stir in the flour, using a wire whisk. Add the milk, whisking rapidly. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. When the mixture is thickened and smooth, add salt, pepper, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the cheeses.

Butter a 2-quart baking dish and pour a little of the sauce over the bottom. Add a layer of macaroni, more sauce, and so on, ending with a layer of sauce. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and dot with remaining butter.

Bake until bubbling and golden-brown, about 25 minutes.