Boil 1 lb macaroni noodles until al dente, set aside.
Butter or oil a casserole dish.
Mix together in a small bowl and set aside:
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup grated American cheese
Make 3 cups White sauce:
3 T. butter
3 T flour
1/2 cup onion, minced
2 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp thyme
1 or 2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
White Sauce Instructions:
You need an iron skillet to do this right. Heat the butter on medium high until it bubbles, add the minced onion and sauté over low heat for 3 or 4 minutes til it is soft and transluscent.
Stir in the flour, bit by bit, whisking madly as you do.
You'll start to get a yellow buttery flour-ball, and as you do, pour in the milk, bit by bit, whisking the whole time. Don't let it burn-- keep it low or med-low.
Don't stop whisking!
(Yes, use a whisk, it makes it taste better than the action you get with a wooden spoon).
After a few minutes, you have finally have a thick, creamy sauce.
Add all the spices.
Now for the Rest:
Add the cheeses to the warm white sauce and melt them, stirring constantly. Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste.
Combine the pasta with the cheesey sauce. (Do this in a big pot or bowl, or it might get messy).
Pour the mixture into the casserole dish, and sprinkle buttered, garlicky breadcrumbs on top. Tasty croutons work great. Bake until brown and bubbly on top.
This recipe morphed from The Vegetarian Epicure, Cook's Illustrated, and my mother's Tuna on Toast, but all three of them would be appalled with how I ended up doing it.