1 (8-ounce) package dried elbow macaroni or favorite pasta (about 2 1/4 cups)
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon whole-grain Dijon mustard or regular mustard- enhances flavor
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce-optional, but does enhance flavor
1 (8-ounce) package shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (about 2 cups)
chopped green onions (optional)
2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (optional)
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons butter, melted
or French's french fried onions
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Cook macaroni according to package directions and slightly undercook by a minute or two. Drain and set aside. Melt butter in a large heavy saucepan over low heat; add flour, stirring until smooth. Cook 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Turn heat to medium; gradually whisk in milk, and cook over medium heat, stirring or whisking constantly until thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in pasta, mustard, and next 4 ingredients, stirring just until cheese begins to melt. Add chopped green onions, if desired.
3. Pour pasta mixture into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano or more Cheddar. If desired, top with fresh breadcrumbs, and drizzle evenly with melted butter. Or add French's french fried onions last 5 minutes of cooking.
4. Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 25 minutes or until bubbly and golden. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Serve with a green salad and wheat rolls.
Submitted by Laure from California