This makes four servings and takes about 20 minutes.
- A large saucepan
- A small saucepan or microwavable measuring cup
- 2 cups elbow macaroni
- 2 tablespoons butter or extra virgin olive oil (oil will change the flavor but has less fat)
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups half and half or milk (another place you can cut the fat)
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar (I do my own with a chunk of cheese and a box grater)
- Heavy pinch of salt (for the pasta water)
- Put water in the large saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Add salt. Cook macaroni according to package directions, about 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Warm the milk either in the microwave for about 1 minute on high or in a small saucepan over low heat.
- In the large saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter or warm the oil. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly, a little at a time, whisk in the warmed milk. Whisk continuously until the mixture is steaming and starts to thicken, about four minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in cheese until melted. Add the macaroni and stir to combine. Check the seasoning and serve.