Macaroni and Cheese

Add 8 ounces raw elbow macaroni or rigatoni to about 4 quarts boiling, salted water. Cook until al dente, about 7 - 8 minutes. Drain and add to sauce.

Cream sauce:

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

2 cups milk

1⁄4 teaspoon garlic powder

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

dash or 2 of Tabasco sauce

8 ounces cubed sharp cheddar cheese plus a couple ounces more for on top. Optional: sprinkle with buttered Panko (Japanese style) bread crumbs

heavy cream, if desired, to thin sauce.

Melt butter in saucepan, add flour and cook over medium high, whisking, until foaming. Gradually add milk, whisking until just starting to boil. It should be smooth and fairly thick. Adjust seasoning. Take off heat, add cubed cheese and stir a little. Doesn’t need to be melted, unless you prefer it that way.

Combine with drained macaroni in an oven proof casserole dish. I sometimes find that the macaroni doesn’t seem to have enough sauce. In that case I add some whipping cream to the whole thing and stir in until it looks right. Sprinkle top with sliced or shredded cheddar or the buttered bread crumbs.

Bake uncovered at 350º for about 25 minutes.