(Always read the recipe twice, assemble, and prepare your ingredients before you begin to cook)

16 oz. box of elbow macaroni
½ cup butter + butter to grease a baking dish
½ cup all purpose flour
2 tsp. dry ground mustard
1 ½ tsp. salt
Black pepper to taste
5 cups whole or 2% milk
4 cups (1 lb.) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided into two 2-cup portions

Topping:
3 tbsp. butter
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil
  • Grease a 13” x 9” baking dish with margarine, butter, or cooking spray
  • Cook the pasta according to the package directions
  • While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat
  • Using a whisk, stir in the flour, mustard, salt, and pepper
  • Gradually stir in the milk continually whisking the mixture
  • Cook and whisk until the mixture thickens slightly and starts to bubble
  • Remove the pot from the heat
  • Add only 2 cups of the shredded cheese stirring until melted
  • Drain the cooked pasta and return it to the pot you cooked it in
  • Pour the cheese sauce into the pot and stir until the pasta is coated
  • Spoon the mixture into the baking dish
  • Top the mixture with the remaining 2 cups of shredded cheese
  • Make the topping:
    • Melt the 3 tbps. butter in a sauté pan
    • Toss the bread crumbs to coat
    • Top the macaroni mixture with the topping mixture
  • Bake 40 minutes until hot and bubbly
  • Let stand for 10 minutes before serving

Notes:

  • tsp. means a teaspoon and tbsp. means tablespoon – always use a measuring spoon not a piece of silverware
  • Panko is a Japanese-style plain and unseasoned breadcrumb traditionally used as a coating for fried foods and a crunchy topping on baked casseroles. The biggest difference between panko and standard breadcrumbs is that panko is made from bread without crusts and the crumbs have a jagged, coarse texture that allows them to crisp up.

If you’d like to be a guest contributor to The Jefferson Chronicle’s Wooden Spoon, please email your recipe clearly noting all ingredients, measurements, and understandable directions to Carol.Punturieri@thejeffersonchronicle.com and type “The Wooden Spoon” in the Subject line.  Be sure to include your name, address, and a telephone number in the event we need to clarify any information

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Carol was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and moved to Jefferson Township with her husband in 1976. She initially joined the Garden Club of Milton, eventually serving as President. She was a co-founder of the ABC Mothers Group, active in the local PTAs, Girl Scouts, and Cub Scouts. She worked for AIM Newspapers as a reporter and eventually became its Editor. Currently, she is President of the Jefferson Arts Committee and the Recreation Program Coordinator in the Jefferson Township Recreation Department. She can be reached at carol.punturieri@thejeffersonchronicle.com.

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