- 250grams small elbow macaroni
- 4 Tbsp + more for buttering pan unsalted butter
- 4 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 Tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/4 Tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 Tsp ground red pepper (cayenne)
- 1/4 Tsp fine sea salt
- 1/4 Tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 2/3 cups whole milk
- 1 1/3 cups thickened cream
- 2 cups Gruyere cheese, grated
- 3/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
- Bring a large pot of boiling salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook 1 minute less than the recommended package instructions. Drain; rinse under cold water; drain again thoroughly, and then set aside.
- To make the sauce, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook for 3 minutes, whisking constantly, to cook the flour. Whisk in the Dijon mustard, ground cloves, ground red pepper, salt, and freshly ground pepper. Add the bay leaf. Whisk in the milk and cream. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to whisk the sauce until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the grated cheese. Continue stirring until the cheese is melted. Remove from the heat.
- Generously brush a rectangular baking dish with melted butter. Arrange the oven rack on the lowest level, turn the dial to ‘Bake’, and preheat the Microwave Oven to 180 degrees
- Spread the cooked macaroni in the pan. Pour the cheese sauce over top, distributing it evenly. Scatter the remaining cheese over the top. Sprinkle the top of the casserole with the panko breadcrumbs.
- Bake the macaroni and cheese until the top is deeply golden and the sauce is bubbling at the edges, 30 minutes. Serve immediately.