- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more to grease the baking dish
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 12 ounces Cherry Grove Herdsman, grated
- 12 ounces Cherry Grove Toma, grated
- (for about 9 cups total grated cheese)
- 1 pound elbow macaroni or favorite shape of short pasta
- 3 1/4 cups whole milk
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a 9- by 13-inch baking dish.
- In a small saucepan over moderate heat, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter. Place the panko bread crumbs in a small bowl, drizzle with the melted butter, and toss to combine. Add a handful of the grated cheese to the bowl, toss to combine, and set aside.
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain the noodles, without rinsing, then return them to the pot they were cooked in.
- In a small saucepan over moderate heat, warm the milk just until it starts to steam and form tiny bubbles around its edges—be careful not to let the milk come to a boil. Remove from the heat.
- In a medium saucepan over moderate heat, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. Add the flour and use a flat-edged wooden spoon or heat-safe rubber spatula to stir the mixture together, scraping the bottom of the pan to prevent burning, just until it starts to turn a light brown color, about 3 minutes. (You just made a roux, the best flavor base for all sauces). Remove from the heat and stir in dry mustard, salt, and pepper. Add the rest of your grated cheese and stir until completely melted. Adjust the seasoning to taste. Pour the cheese sauce over the cooked elbow macaroni and gently stir to coat the noodles in the sauce.
- Pour the macaroni and cheese into the prepared baking dish and top with the panko-cheese mixture. Bake until light golden brown and bubbling, about 30 minutes. Serve hot.
DO AHEAD: Macaroni and cheese can be made ahead, put into the baking dish, cooled completely, and kept, covered in the refrigerator, for 2 days. Do not add the bread crumbs until ready to bake. (Chilled Macaroni and Cheese may take longer than 30 minutes to be fully cooked.)
Options: Flake a can of tuna or salmon into your cheese mixture, or add your favorite green vegetables to the sauce. Tuna fish and broccoli together makes a tuna tetrazzini!