Ultimate Macaroni and Cheese


  • 3 cups (750 mL) elbow macaroni, (about 450 g)
  • 3 tbsp (45 mL) butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups (1 L) milk
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) each salt and pepper
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups (375 mL) shredded Gruyère cheese
  • 1-1/2 cups (375 mL) shredded extra-old Cheddar cheese


  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) butter, diced and softened


  • In large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain; set aside.
  • Meanwhile, in large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; cook garlic and thyme, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Whisk in flour; cook, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes.
  • Pour in milk in slow steady stream, whiskingconstantly until smooth; cook, whisking often, until thickened, about 7 minutes. Whisk in mustard, nutmeg, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper.
  • Stir in Gruyère and Cheddar cheeses until smooth; stir in pasta. Scrape into lightly greased 12-cup (3 L) casserole dish.

    Topping: In bowl, combine panko with Parmesan cheese; using fingers, rub in butter until mixture resembles coarse sand. Sprinkle over pasta mixture.

    Bake in 400 F (200 C) oven until sauce is bubbly and topping is golden, about 25 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

    Tip from the Test Kitchen: The sauce might seem a little runny at first, but it will thicken beautifully when baked with the starchy macaroni.

Recipe Courtesy of – Canadian Living

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