Updated Tuesday, September 24th, 2013
Total Time: 25
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
This version of macaroni and cheese is made with lots of extra sharp Vermont cheddar, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and a crispy topping made from Japanese panko breadcrumbs.
Preheat oven to 350°. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large, heavy skillet. Add panko and stir until coated; set aside.
Cook pasta according to package, stopping 2 minutes shy of suggested cooking time. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter in a large, heavy saucepan over low heat; whisk in flour until smooth. Cook, whisking continuously, about 1 minute; don't let mixture brown. Add milk gradually and cook over medium heat, whisking continuously, until mixture is thickened and bubbly, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; add salt, pepper, red-pepper flakes, mustard, and cheeses, whisking until melted.
Add pasta; then spoon mixture into a lightly greased 2-quart casserole or four lightly greased 2-cup baking dishes. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until bubbly.
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