Here's the recipe I snipped and glued into my utterly unorganized recipe binder. I'm guessing that it's from an issue of Better Homes and Gardens. Don't quote me on that.
Cheese. A giant mound of it. Four different types, to be exact. The recipe called for over a pound and a half of cheese: 18 oz. of sharp cheddar and 8 oz. of Gruyere. I used the recommended 26 oz., but they were not just cheddar and Gruyere. I added some smoked Gouda and some Mexican string cheese. Oh, yes. It worked out nicely. I do recommend shredding your own cheese when making this. Pre-shredded cheeses just don't have the same texture. It's the truth, just ask me.
For a crumby topping, cube 5 or 6 slices of bread. I imagine day old bread would be better than fresh. You'll toss the cubes with melted butter. Mmmm. More cholesterol. More tasty.
To begin a REAL cheese sauce, we start by making a roux. Equal parts fat (butter) and flour. This is where the sauce gets saucy.
Nice soft sauces achieve a smooth texture with constant whisking. I totally marked up the bottom of my dutch oven with this metal whisk. Oopies!
Pour in the milk a little bit at a time. Whisk whisk whisk to prevent clumping. Clumpy sauce is a no good sauce.
Time for some spice! Salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and freshly grated nutmeg. Don't you dare buy pre-ground nutmeg. Buy a whole nutmeg nut and grate it yourself. Not only is the flavor more intense and fresh, but it's fun to grate. Indeed.
Pretty, spotty spices. The roux is ready for the cheese.
More stirring until the cheese melts.
In goes the already cooked macaroni.
There is a sliiiiiiiight issue with this recipe, I found. Too much sauce and not enough macaroni. Look at them. They are drowning! I cooked up some more pasta (roughly 1/2 - 3/4 cup dry) and tossed in enough to make it look substantial. Worked like a charm.