- 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.