I make this mac and cheese for large gatherings because it can be made 2 days in advance. Everyone loves it. I usually make half plain for the kids, and half with chipotles for the adults. Any tubular pasta will work and I often 'clean out the fridge' and add any other cheeses that I may have on hand.
For Bread Crumbs
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 cups fresh breadcrumbs, coarsely chopped
- 3 tablespoons chipotle chiles in adobo, chopped
- 1⁄4 cup unsalted butter
- 1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups whole milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon dry mustard
- 1 lb macaroni
- 2 lbs cheddar cheese, grated
- Make bread crumbs:.
- Heat butter and oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until foam subsides, then cook garlic and bread crumbs, stirring, until crumbs are golden.
- Transfer to paper towels to drain and season with salt.
- Make macaroni:.
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- Chop chipotles.
- Melt butter in a 3- to 4-quart saucepan over moderate heat, then add flour and cook, whisking, 1 minute.
- Gradually whisk in milk, cream, and mustard and simmer, whisking occasionally, 3 minutes.
- Cook macaroni in a 6- to 7-quart pot of boiling salted water until just tender.
- Drain in a colander and transfer to a large bowl.
- Stir in white sauce, cheese, and salt to taste.
- Fill a 1 1/2-quart shallow casserole with half of macaroni mixture.
- Stir chipotles into remaining macaroni.
- Spoon into another 1 1/2-quart shallow casserole and sprinkle both with bread crumbs.
- Bake casseroles in middle of oven 30 minutes, or until bubbly.
- Macaroni and cheese may be made 2 days ahead, put into casseroles, cooled completely, and chilled, covered.
- Do not add bread crumbs until ready to bake. (Baking may take longer than 30 minutes.)
- Serves 8 adults plus 10 children as part of a buffet.