Shortcut Macaroni And Cheese
- 6 tablespoons butter, softened
- 2 1/2 cups milk
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 pound rigatoni, elbow, or other cut pasta
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- Heat the oven to 400 F and grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with 2 tablespoons of the butter.
- Bring a stockpot of water to a boil and salt it.
- Put the milk and the bay leaves in a saucepan over medium-low heat.
- When small bubbles appear along the sides of the pan, after 5 minutes, turn off the heat and let the milk sit.
- When the water boils, cook the pasta to the point where it is just becoming tender but is still underdone and firm in the center.
- Start tasting after 3 minutes.
- Drain the pasta and rinse it quickly in cold water to stop the cooking.
- Fish the bay leaves out of the milk.
- Spread a third of the pasta evenly in the prepared baking dish.
- Sprinkle it with half of the flour, dot with half of the remaining butter, cover with 1/2 cup of the cheddar, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Repeat this process once more.
- Finally, spread out the last of the pasta and top with the remaining cheddar and the Parmesan; sprinkle with the bread crumbs.
- Pour the heated milk over all.
- Bake until bubbling and browned on top, 30 to 40 minutes.
- Serve immediately.