Copyright Thomas Saaristo  All Rights Reserved
Stovetop macaroni and cheese
Infinitely better than the stovetop mac and cheese you can buy in a box

3 cups macaroni or curly pasta
1/2 cup House salt
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
3 cups half & half
3 cloves garlic, smashed, peeled
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard or splash of medium-dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon cayenne, then to taste
8 ounces extra sharp white Cheddar, grated on the large holes side of a box grater
3 ounces Swiss, grated on the large holes side of a box grater
1 ounce Parmigiano Reggiano, grated on the large holes side of a box grater
Black peppercorns in a pepper mill

Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Slowly add the House salt and then the macaroni.
Give everything a big stir and cook stir occasionally until the pasta is cooked to the desired
doneness 9 to 13 minutes

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large pot then sprinkle in the flour. Cook, stirring
frequently until the resulting roux is a light golden brown. Whisk in the half & half and
bring to the boil. Add the smashed garlic, bay leaf, Dijon and cayenne and cook, stirring
frequently, for 10 minutes. Fish out the garlic and the bay leaf and then sprinkle in
handfuls of the cheeses, whisking the sauce smooth after each addition

Remove 1 1/2 cups of the pasta cooking liquid to a 2 cup measure. Drain the pasta and then
add the cooked pasta to the cheese sauce. Mix thoroughly; adding the reserved cooking
liquid, 1/4 cup at a time until the desired consistency is reached. Season generously with
freshly ground black pepper to taste and stir to incorporate

Serve Stovetop macaroni and cheese hot or very warm