"When you make this at home," Temple says, "you should keep all the ingredients separate until the very last minute, just before you pop it in the oven, so the pasta doesn't have a chance to soak up the sauce." This recipe serves eight as a main dish -- even more as side dish. Temple suggests adding lobster for a truly impressive dinner party.
Lou Jane gave Fat City permission to reprint this celebrated recipe, which follows....
Cafe Lulu's Macaroni and Cheese
1 pound elbow macaroni
1 tablespooon vegetable oil, plus additional for the baking dish
1/4 cup (a half stick) butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups each of chicken stock and half-and-half
1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese
1 1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese, medium or sharp
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon each Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika, sweet or hot
For the Topping:
1 package (10 ounces) potato chips, regular or spicy
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cook the macaroni according to package instructions and drain it. Pour into lightly oiled baking dish of sufficient size and depth to hold the macaroni and cheese mixture. Add the oil to the macaroni and toss it to keep it from sticking together. Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and reserve at room temperature until needed.
To make the sauce: Melt butter over medium heat in medium-sized saucepan. Add the flour and continue cooking, whisking the butter and flour mixture until it has thickened and turned a butterscotch color. Add the chicken stock and whisk until smooth. Add the half-and-half, stirring to blend well.
Once the sauce mixture is thoroughly heated, add the three grated cheeses, one at a time. Reduce the heat to low and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add the salt, pepper and paprika and continue stirring until all the cheese is melted. Remove from heat and reserve as needed.
To make the topping: Open one small corner of the potato chip bag to let the air out. Using a rolling pin, smash the chips while they're still in the bag, taking care not to let the crushed chips come out of the open corner of the bag.
Melt the butter in a medium-sized frying pan over medium heat. Add the crushed chips and the Parmesan. Toss thoroughly to coat the chips with the butter and cheese mixture.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Pour the cheese sauce over the macaroni mixture, gently jiggling the baking dish to distribute the sauce evenly. Top with a generous layer of the potato chip mixture, pressing it lightly into the macaroni and cheese. Bake until the cheese sauce bubbles and the top is browned, 50 or 60 minutes. Serve immediately.
(Image via Flickr: Maymolinadesigns)