2 cups milk2 cups half and half1 small onion, quartered3 sprigs fresh thyme3 sprigs parsley1 teaspoon whole peppercorns1 stick butter1/2 cup flour5 cups shredded cheddar cheese (1 pound, 4 ounces)1 teaspoon kosher salt1 teaspoon Tabasco1 teaspoon Dijon mustard12 ounces macaroni, cooked according to package directions, well drained
Pour the milk and cream into a non-reactive saucepan.
Add the onion, herbs and peppercorns. Heat just until scalded.
Remove from the heat and allow to sit for 30 minutes. Strain and return to the pan.
Reheat just until hot.In a heavy pan, melt the butter. Stir in the flour and cook, without browning, for 2 full minutes, stirring constantly.
Pour in the hot milk and whisk until the mixture bubbles and thickens.Remove from the heat and stir in 4 cups of the cheese.
Add the salt, Tabasco and mustard. Stir until cheese is melted.Fold in the cooked macaroni.
Pour into a 2 quart baking pan. Top with the remaining cup of cheese.Bake in the center of a preheated 350 º F. oven for about 30 minutes or until hot through.Serves 8.