Super Mac & Cheese
7 tablespoons unsalted butter,at room temperature
1⁄3 cup all-purpose flour
22⁄3 cups milk
¾ cup shredded Gruyère cheese
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
4 ounces cream cheese
6 cups cooked elbow macaroni
(about 3 cups uncooked)
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon Texas Pete hot sauce
½ cup diced center smoked ham
4 ounces bacon, cooked crisp and chopped
4 ounces hot Italian sausage,
casing removed, cooked and chopped
½ cup crushed butter crackers
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a 3-quart casserole dish and set aside.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt 5 tablespoons of the butter. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes, until the mixture is blended and the flour gives off a nutty scent. Gradually whisk in the milk and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens. Stir in the cheeses and continue stirring until all the cheese has melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the macaroni, salt, hot sauce, ham, bacon, and sausage. Spoon the mixture into the prepared casserole dish.
In a small bowl, stir together the crackers and the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle over the macaroni mixture and bake for 30 minutes, or until golden and bubbly. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.