Crunchy Mega Mac n' Cheese
One 12 ounce box whole wheat elbow macaroni
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
2¼ cups reduced-fat (2 percent) milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
½ cup plain bread crumbs
10 ounces extra sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (2 ½ cups)
½ cup heavy cream
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large saucepan of water to boil; add macaroni and cook, stirring often, until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse with cool water until cool. Reserve.
Melt the butter in the same saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in 1 cup of the milk and cook, whisking, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Whisk the cornstarch into the remaining 1¼ cups milk and then whisk into the sauce in the pan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, whisking, for 1 minute longer. Add the cheese and stir until melted. Stir in the cream and salt.
Stir the cooked macaroni into the cheese sauce and cook over medium heat, stirring, until hot, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Transfer the mac and cheese to a buttered baking dish. Combine ½ cup plain dried bread crumbs and ½ cup more shredded Cheddar, sprinkle on top of the macaroni mixture, and broil until golden.