Recipe Notes Adapted from Fannie Farmer's 1896 Boston Cooking School Cookbook


1 16-ounce package of macaroni

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

8 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 cups whole milk

2 cups light cream

4 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

½ cup seasoned dried bread crumbs

½ cup finely grated parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 400°F.

Cook and drain the macaroni according to the directions on the package and set aside.

Coat a large baking dish with butter and set aside.

In a large, high-sided pan, melt the butter. Mix the flour with salt and pepper and add it to the pan. Whisk together well to form a roux. Very gradually add the milk and then the cream, whisking constantly. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes – do not stop stirring!

Reduce heat and cook for about 10 minutes more, still stirring constantly. Your white sauce will be creamy and very thick.

Still over heat, add the cheese to the pan little by little, stirring until the cheese melts. Turn off the heat. Add the cooked macaroni to the cheese sauce and mix well.

Transfer the cheesy macaroni to the buttered baking dish. Blend the breadcrumbs and grated parmesan together, and sprinkle evenly over the entire dish.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown. I like to turn on the broiler for the last minute, watching carefully so it doesn’t burn, to ensure a nicely browned crispy top crust.