Sausage Macaroni and Cheese with Parmesan Crust

By: Marge Perry & David Bonom

Ingredients

1 pound of elbow macaroni
1 pound of sweet Italian sausage removed from the casing
6 tablespoons of unsalted butter divided
1 teaspoon of dried basil
1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups of milk
1/3 cup of tomato paste
2 cups of shredded mozzarella
1 1/2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese divided
1/2 cup of corn flake crumbs

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly brush a 3-quart baking dish with oil.
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook 1 minute less than package directions; drain, rinse under cold water and drain again. Transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium. Add the sausage and cook, breaking into smaller pieces, until browned and cooked through, 8-9 minutes; reserve.
  4. Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the basil and cook, stirring 15 seconds. Add the flour and cook, stirring, until it turns a very pale brown, 3 minutes. Whisk in the milk and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low, whisk in the tomato paste and cook 1 minute. Add the mozzarella, cheddar and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese and stir until melted, about 1 minute. Pour mixture over the macaroni, add the reserved sausage and stir well to coat. Transfer mixture to the prepared baking dish.
  5. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and combine with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and corn flake crumbs; mix well. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the macaroni. Bake until to top is golden and the macaroni is hot, about 25-28 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.