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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The Best Mac and Cheese


The Best Mac and Cheese (adapted from a Pasta and Co. recipe)

1 lb sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 lb mozzarella cheese, grated
4 cups and 3⁄4 cup milk (Divided!)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1⁄2 cup flour
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
2 shakes Cholula (or Tabasco sauce)
1⁄3 teaspoon white pepper
1 lb cavatappi pasta (or rigatoni or penne)
3⁄4 teaspoon chili powder

Combine grated Cheddar and mozzarella and set aside.

Zap 4 cups of milk so it's not fridge cold.

Melt butter in a heavy pan large enough to hold the pasta after it is cooked. When foam from butter recedes, remove from heat, whisk in flour, and mix well. Return to medium-low heat, and, whisking constantly, simmer for 2 to 3 minutes to cook, but not brown, the flour.

Gradually whisk in hot milk. Raise heat to medium-high and continue stirring until mixture is smooth and thick (about 5 minutes).

Add Parmesan cheese. Whisk until smooth. Add Tabasco and white pepper and blend.

Cook pasta in boiling salted water about 4 minutes. (It will be underdone, but will finish cooking later.) Drain and fold it into the cheese sauce.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Layer one-half the pasta mixture into a 9x13 pan. It will probably seem like you don't have enough because it barely covers the bottom of the pan. Top with one-half of the Cheddar and mozzarella. Repeat. Sprinkle chili powder evenly over top.

Up to this point can be done a day or two ahead (or even longer if you freeze it, but I'd thaw before baking a frozen batch). When ready to bake, drizzle an additional 3/4 cup milk over the dish. Bake for approximately one hour.

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