The Seven Year Itch Mac-n-Cheese Casserole

Ingredients

1 pound elbow macaroni
6 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon powdered mustard
3 cups whole milk (Creamline)
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon Hungarian Paprika
2 large eggs, beaten in a small bowl
2#s ounces Mammoth Cheddar, shredded
2 teaspoon Kosher salt
Fresh black pepper

Toppings:

1 cup panko bread crumbs
Smoked Kielbasa, ½”slices
Fresh baby spinach (1 clamshell container)
1 quart Cherry Tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente (3 minutes tops). Drain in a colander and set aside.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Add the onions and sautee until translucent (2-3 minutes), add garlic and cook until fragrant, but do not let it get brown.
  4. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it’s free of lumps. Stir in the milk, bay leaves, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf. It is very important to let the sauce cook for the full ten minutes so that it thickens and the flour gets cooked.
  5. Temper in the egg by ladling in some of the sauce into the bowl and slowly mixing it up to temperature. This is an important step that will prevent the sauce from turning into scrambled eggs. Stir in 2/3 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix, add the Kielbasa, tomatoes, and spinach. Pour mixture into a large (4 quart) casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese and bread crumbs.
  6. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown in the middle rack. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.

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