Macaroni & Cheese

This recipe is the daddy of all macs, and blows away the old, boxed, powdered cheese kind of mac and cheese. This is an upgraded, gourmet version of the childhood favorite! Made with freshly grated sharp cheddar, asiago, and mozzarella cheeses, and topped with buttered breadcrumbs and broiled, you'll never buy the box version again!


Pasta:

1 (16 oz) box medium shell pasta (Cavatelli) (you can use gemelli, macaroni, or anything else you like!)

4 cups water + 1 cup half & half, 1 TBSP salt, 1 TBSP Olive oil (to boil pasta in)

(some of the pasta water will be added to the cheese sauce so it is important to not just use water!)


Sauce:

4 TBSP Butter

3 TBSP flour

3 cups half & half

1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper

1 cup freshly shredded extra sharp cheddar

1/2 cup freshly shredded Asiago

1 cup shredded mozzarella


Additional cheese layers:

Mix:

1 cup shredded cheddar

1 cup shredded mozzarella

1/4 cup shredded asiago

Set aside.


Bread crymb layer:

2 cups of bread crumbs

1 stick of butter, melted.

Add melted butter to bread crumbs, toss until well coated. Set aside.


Cheese Sauce Instructions:

In a medium saucepan, add 4 TBSP Butter. Melt. When butter is melted, add 3 TBSP flour and mix well with a whisk. When smooth and well blended, add 3 cups of half and half and mix well. Bring to a boil and remove from heat.


Add fresh cracked pepper, shredded cheddar, shredded Asiago, and shredded mozzarella. Whisk until it is well blended and set aside.

3 cups half & half

1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper

1 cup freshly shredded cheddar

1/2 cup freshly shredded Asiago

1 cup shredded mozzarella


Boil Pasta. Take 1 cup of the pasta liquid and add it to the cheese sauce you just prepared. Stir and set aside. Strain the rest of pasta water mixture and set aside.


Pour pasta back into empty pot after draining it. Add 2 cups of cheese sauce and stir it until well blended into the pasta. Add half the pasta to the bottom of a 13" x 9" baking dish. Spread another ladel of cheese over pasta and add about half of the mixed shredded cheeses so they are covering the entire layer of pasta.


Add the rest of the sauced pasta over the cheesy layer. Pour the rest of the sauce over that layer so it is evenly distributed over the pasta layer. Add the rest of the shredded cheese.


Now, cover the top of the entire dish with buttered breadcrumbs and broil for 2 minutes. Be careful! Sometimes the broiler has a mind of its own. Make sure the top rack is lowered so the breadcrumbs don't burn!


Remove from oven and serve HOT! in individual dishes. (see pic below)









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