Cook macaroni, make a thick white sauce (4 tbsp each butter and flour, melted and blended in a pan over medium high, pour in 2 cups of milk or 1 cup milk and 1 cup chicken stock, stir constantly until thickened and bubbly), add 2 cups of shredded aged cheddar and stir until it melts, stir into mac and pour into a greased pan. Sprinkle on another 2 cups of shredded cheese and bake at 350 until the cheese on top is the colour you want it to be.
If you want it more complicated, you can add freshly ground nutmeg and pepper while melting the butter with the flour, or melt in a tbsp of dijon mustard along with the cheese for a sharper flavour. You can mix and match cheese, but stay away from mozza and swiss unless you want it to be a stringy pain to eat. Asiago would be luscious, and some restaurants here use blue.
If you want a more unusual topping, toss dry bread crumbs with melted butter, grated parmasan and dry parsley.
at 6:40 PM on Nov. 20, 2010