1/2 pound elbow macaroni
1/2 stick of butter (4 TBSP)
1 (heaping) tablespoon self-rising flour (all purpose will work fine in a pinch!)
2 1/2 cups milk
2 cups SHARP (only!) cheddar cheese, shredded plus more for topping
salt and pepper to taste
Begin by bringing on a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until just tender. The pasta will finish cooking in the oven.
While the pasta is cooking, grab another, smaller pot and melt 4 Tablespoons (1/2 of a stick) of butter in a sauce pan. Add a generous tablespoon of the self-rising flour and stir to combine. Allow the butter and flour to cook for a few minutes so that the flour flavor is cooked away. Finally, add 2 and 1/2 cups of milk, salt and pepper to taste, and whisk constantly (more or less) until the mixture comes to a boil. Allow to boil for a minute or so then remove from heat and let cool just a little bit.
When the macaroni has finished cooking, strain it and place in a 9x13 casserole dish. Pour the white sauce over the pasta in the casserole dish. Stir to evenly distribute. Sprinkle two cups of the SHARP cheddar over the macaroni and white sauce and stir gently as the cheese melts. Instead, add more SHARP cheddar to top (if you wish, not necessary) and head to the oven.
Bake in a 350 degree oven until bubbly. If you choose, you can turn on the broiler after baking and brown the cheese to the desired color.
Remove from oven, allow to cool and eat. Be careful not to burn your mouth. You'll want to take a bite looooooonnnnggg before it's cool enough.