Preheat an oven to 375 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking
pan or dish.
FOR MACARONI: Bring a large saucepan three-fourths full of water
to a rapid boil. Add the salt and the macaroni and stir to separate.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, 5-7 minutes, or according
to package directions. Drain and rinse with cool water to remove
any excess starch. Place in a large mixing bowl and drizzle with
the oil. Set aside.
FOR SAUCE: In a saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter.
Sprinkle the flour over the butter and whisk constantly until the
flour is absorbed and the mixture is gently bubbling and lightly
golden, 2-3 minutes. Gradually add the warm milk, whisking continuously,
and bring to a simmer. Continue to simmer, stirring, until smooth
and slightly thickened, 3-4 minutes.
Add the 1 3/4 cups cheese to the milk mixture, remove from the
heat and whisk constantly until the cheese melts. Stir in the salt,
pepper, mustard and parsley. Pour the sauce over the macaroni and
mix to combine. Transfer the macaroni to the prepared baking pan.
FOR TOPPING: In a small bowl, stir together the cheese and bread
crumbs. Sprinkle evenly over the macaroni. Dot with the butter.
Bake until the top bubbles and begins to form a crust, 20-25 minutes;
cover the top with aluminum foil if it begins to brown too much.
Remove from the oven and let stand for about 5 minutes before serving.
Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Owen. All rights reserved.