8 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
8 ounces elbow macaroni
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
3 cups milk
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons melted butter (for the crumbs)
1. In a large pot combine the water and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Bring to a boil, add the pasta, and stir so it isn't sticking to the bottom. Boil for 9 to 12 minutes or until done. Use a long-handled fork or pasta server to lift out a piece. Run it under cold water for a few seconds, then bite into it. If it is still hard, let the pasta cook for 1 to 2 minutes longer.
2. Place a colander in the sink. Carefully carry the pasta pot to the sink and slowly pour contents into the colander. Shake it a few times to remove the water; set aside.
3. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-12-inch baking dish.
4. In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the flour until it is completely blended. Add the milk and remaining 1 teaspoon salt and bring just to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes or until the mixture begins to thicken, being careful not to overcook or the mixture will curdle.
5. Add the cheese and stir until it melts. Add the macaroni and stir again. Pour into the baking dish.
6. Mix the crumbs and melted butter. Scatter them on the macaroni and bake the dish for 30 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling at the edges and the crumbs are lightly browned. Serve hot.