Cooking and Baking

weirdly textured mac n cheese -- help?

so i just made a batch of mac and cheese following the joy of cooking recipe pretty much to the letter (i omitted the bay leaf, but did everything else just like they said). it's a standard recipe -- roux, bechamel, cooked with onions in this case, then stir in the cheese, seasoning and noodles, top with cheesy crumbs and bake.
all was looking fine through the first few steps, i cooked the butter, flour, milk and onions until it thickened enough to coat the back of my spoon, about 15 minutes, then turned off the heat to deal with the noodles, and at most 4 minutes later added the cheese-- freshly grated, combination of cheddar, provolone, and parmesan, and i mixed it together fairly vigorously with a wooden spoon, but even after i stirred in the noodles, it remained kind of clumpy, like a broken emulsion.
is there some fine point of technique i could modify to get smooth, gooey cheese sauce? use a whisk? keep the sauce on the heat until after adding the cheese? add the cheese bit by bit and make sure each bolus is throughly combined before adding more?
it still tastes good and all (well, actually, i'm not sure whether i like the onion and may omit it next time) but the texture i was trying for just isn't there.
actually, i haven't baked it yet, i've been eating it out of the saucepan, and still have to make breadcrumbs for the topping. but i somehow doubt the sauce will come together on its own in the oven.
any insight would be appreciated
thx ^_^


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