Baked macaroni & cheese with deep, rich flavor notes from roasted garlic and nutty browned butter
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut off the top ¼ of the head of garlic and discard. Place garlic, cut side up, onto a piece of foil then drizzle olive oil over top and wrap garlic in foil. Place in oven to roast for about 40 minutes. Remove garlic from oven and reduce heat to 375 degrees. When garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins into a bowl (should flow out easily). Mash garlic with a fork to form a paste. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, melt three tablespoons of the butter over medium heat, stirring every 30 seconds or so. The butter should bubble (but not pop) and white solids will form in the pan. Continue stirring until butter darkens to a golden color and emits a nutty aroma (total process is about 5 minutes).
Add flour to browned butter and stir to form a roux. Cook for about two minutes.
Slowly whisk in milk to ensure mixture is smooth and free of lumps. Bring mixture to a light boil then stir in sea salt, white pepper, and roasted garlic paste.
Add 2 ½ cups cheese to the pan, about ½ cup at a time, mixing well between each addition. Stir until all cheese is melted and sauce is uniform in texture and color.
Add in cooked pasta and mix until it is evenly coated with sauce. Transfer into a 9 by 9-inch square baking dish. Sprinkle remaining cup of cheese over top.
In a small bowl, melt remaining 3 tbsp butter (I just pop in the microwave), bread crumbs, and parsley to form a crumb mixture. Sprinkle this mixture over top of mac and cheese in baking dish.
Place dish in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until top is lightly browned and mac & cheese is bubbly.