Heaven-Sent Macaroni and Cheese

Serves 6

1 pound small shells, or other macaroni, such as elbows
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups sharp white Cheddar cheese, plus 1/2 cup for the top
1 1/2 cups Gruyere cheese, plus 1/2 cup for the top
a generous amount of salt and black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a deep 2 1/2 quart baking dish with butter or cooking spray.

2. Cook pasta in salted water, about 2 minutes short of being fully cooked; it will finish cooking in the oven. Drain the cooked pasta, but do not rinse. Place in a large bowl.

3. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour. Slowly add milk, whisking continuously, until it reaches a boil. Reduce heat, and cook 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add cheese and a generous amount of salt and pepper. Whisk until smooth; remove from heat. Add cooked pasta to the cheese sauce, and toss well. Pour into the prepared baking dish and top with remaining 1 cup cheese. Bake until the cheese bubbles around the edges and the top turns golden brown, about 35-40 minutes.

Recipe created by Susan Russo of Food Blogga.