For a more grown-up version, use more cheddar or omit the American cheese entirely. If you think you don't like sharp cheddar, don't substitute for mild or this won't taste like much.
Ingredients:Makes 6–8 servings
- 1 pound penne or elbow macaroni
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups milk , heated
- 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
- 2 cups (8 ounces) finely chopped American cheese
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Hot pepper sauce
- 1/4 cup (1 ounce) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a deep 4-quart casserole.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour. Gradually whisk in the milk. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in 1 cup of the cheddar cheese and 1 cup of the American cheese. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and hot sauce.
Combine the remaining cheddar and American cheeses. Spread one third of the penne over the bottom of the casserole dish. Top with half of the shredded cheese and a third of the sauce. Repeat, using another third of the penne with the remaining cheese and half of the sauce. Finish with the remaining penne and sauce. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top.
Bake until bubbly and golden brown around the edges, about 30 minutes.