Adapted from a Recipe by Alton Brown, Food Network
½ pound elbow macaroni
4 tablespoons butter, divided
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon powdered mustard
3 cups milk
½ cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon paprika
1 large egg
12 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh black pepper
1 cup panko bread crumbs for topping (I usually make coarsely ground bread crumbs from any crusty bread I have, such as French or Italian bread or baguettes)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente.
3. While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt 3 Tbsp butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it’s free of lumps.
4. Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf.
5. Temper in the egg.
6. Stir in ¾ of the cheese and the salt and pepper.
7. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 9 X 13″ casserole. Top with remaining cheese.
8. For the topping, melt the remaining Tbsp of butter in a sauté pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat.
9. Top the cheese with the bread crumbs and Italian seasoning. Bake for 30 minutes.
10. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.