I found a great recipe for REAL macaroni and cheese, tweaked it slightly, and made it a family favorite. We now have this at every Thanksgiving and sometimes Christmas. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
Set the macaroni to boil in salted water. You know you have enough salt when the water tastes like the sea. Make sure not to over cook. While this is cooking, grate your cheeses. It's essential you grate your own cheese and not buy pre-grated in the package. Packaged shredded cheese has powered cellulose (that white residue on the cheese) to make it not stick to itself and it hinders proper melting. *Cold cheese is easier to grate so you may grate is straight from the fridge or pop it in the freezer 10 minutes before you start.
When the pasta is cooked and drained, we will make the bechamel sauce. In a medium saucepan on medium heat, melt the butter along with some salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. Once melted, add the flour stirring until you get a thin paste. This is a roux (the thickening agent for the sauce).
Put the tsp of hot sauce in your milk measure and slowly whisk the liquid into the roux. Once incorporated, begin adding the grated cheese by the handful. Stir your whisk in a figure eight motion making sure to scrape the bottom and sides of your pan. This helps the cheese melt and not become stringy.
Once all the cheese in incorporated, you should have a beautiful cheese sauce. Put the macaroni into a 9X13 baking dish and pour the sauce over. Stir to distribute the sauce.