-for Margaret

1 pound De Cecco penne pasta
½ cup Meadowbrook unsalted butter
½ cup flour
2 cups whole milk
¾ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Allepo Pepper (available in our bulk section)
1 pound Tickler extra sharp cheddar cheese, freshly shredded
½ cup beer (pale ale)
½ cup bread crumbs
¼ cup parmesan cheese, freshly shredded
½ teaspoon Allepo Pepper (available in our bulk section)
1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cook pasta in plenty of rapidly boiling, salted water until al dente. Set aside.

Melt butter over low-to-medium heat. Add flour. Cook flour and butter to make a blond roux. I like to cook roux for 5 – 8 minutes, so this is done slowly. It shouldn’t get brown, only tan. It’s important to cook the roux thoroughly, though, so as to minimize the flour taste in the sauce.

Whisk the salt and allepo pepper in a little bit of the milk until the seasonings are well-dissolved. Stir this into the rest of the milk and add this resulting mixture to the cooked roux. Raise the flame to medium heat and cook as for a very thick, smooth béchamel (white sauce, n’est-ce pas?).

Add the cheese in small portions, whisking thoroughly after each addition. Add the beer.

Combine the cheese sauce and pasta. Smooth this mixture into a greased casserole dish.

Combine the final four ingredients. I like to use home made bread crumbs for this now, but at Hot Dish we used store bought (yes, the stuff in the big cardboard tube). Sprinkle this mixture over the macaroni and cheese.

Bake for about half an hour or until golden brown on top. Don’t over-bake it. It’s possible that the cheese sauce will break if you do that. A cheese sauce is said to break when the fats and solids in the sauce separate and leave a gloppy mess.