Let's eat

Baked macaroni and cheese with panko crust

(Katie Workman for The Boston Globe)
By Katie Workman
October 27, 2010

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Serves 6

Butter (for the dish)
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 tablespoons butter
3 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons flour
2 1/2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
3 cups grated sharp cheddar
1/2cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound penne
1. Set the oven at 400 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

2. Meanwhile, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter. Stir in the panko.

3. In a soup pot over medium heat, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter. Add the shallots and garlic. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Whisk in the flour, and continue whisking for 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk and cook, stirring, until the mixture comes to a boil. Simmer for 4 minutes. Stir in the cream, hot sauce, cheddar, Parmesan, salt, and pepper.

4. Cook the pasta in the boiling water, stirring often, for 8 minutes or until it is tender. Remove 1 cup of the pasta water and stir it into the sauce.

5. Drain the pasta, add it to the sauce, and stir well. Transfer to the baking dish. Sprinkle with the panko mixture.

6. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden and bubbling at the edges. Let the dish sit for 5 minutes.