Baked Macaroni and Cheese
1/2 lb elbow macaroni
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon powdered mustard
3 cups milk (I used skim since that is what we have)
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 large egg
12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup panko bread crumbs (Ok, I did not have these specific bread crumbs on hand and I just used your everyday regular bread crumbs.)
Preheat oven to 350F
In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta to al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and the mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it's free of lumps. Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf.
Temper in the egg. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with the remaining cheese.
Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and rest for five minutes before serving.
Would I make this again? Yes I would, however, Erik did not approve. His 6-year-old palette is used to the creamier texture of the boxed mac and cheeses and this was not that. I enjoyed it and thought it was quite good. Ah well.