Total Calories: 919
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the macaroni until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain thoroughly.
2. Meanwhile, melt 6 tablespoons of the butter in a heavy, medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about 4 minutes. (The flour mixture must foam as it cooks, or the sauce will have a raw-flour taste.) Stir in the cayenne and salt and white pepper to taste. Whisk in the hot milk, about a cup at a time, and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce thickens. Reduce heat to low and stir in 2 cups of the cheese. Cook, stirring, until the cheese melts, about 2 minutes.
3. Combine the cheese sauce and drained macaroni in a large bowl and season with salt, if needed. Sprinkle 1/2 cup cheese over the bottom of a buttered 8-by-11-inch baking dish. Put one-third of the pasta in the dish, top with another 1/2 cup of the cheese, then repeat the layering twice, ending with cheese.
4. Pour cream over the assembled macaroni and cheese. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the bread crumbs and stir to coat well with the melted butter, then sprinkle over the macaroni and cheese. Bake until golden, about 30 minutes. Allow to rest for 15 minutes before serving.
TO MAKE AHEAD: Let cool completely, cover, and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Freeze in an airtight container for up to 1 month.
From From Our House To Yours. Compilation copyright © 2002 by Chronicle Books LLC. Foreword copyright © 2002 by Joyce Goldstein. Photographs copyright © 2002 by E.J. Armstrong. All rights reserved. First published by Chronicle Books LLC, San Francisco, California.
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