Creamy Cavatappi & Cheese Recipe
Creamy Cavatappi & Cheese Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Creamy Cavatappi & Cheese Recipe

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Dive fork first into oodles of noodles baked to bubbly perfection and coated with a to-die-for sharp cheddar cheese sauce in this grown-up mac and cheese. Hot sauce lends a mild heat that’s delectable with the smoky topping. —Barbara Colucci, Rockledge, Florida
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. Bake: 20 min.
MAKES:10 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. Bake: 20 min.
MAKES: 10 servings


  • 6 cups uncooked cavatappi or spiral pasta
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce
  • 4 cups 2% milk
  • 6 cups (24 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup cubed process cheese (Velveeta)
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup panko (Japanese) bread crumbs
  • 3 thick-sliced bacon strips, cooked and coarsley crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • Coarsely ground pepper, optional


  1. Cook cavatappi according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, saute garlic in butter in a Dutch oven. Stir in flour and pepper sauce until blended; gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
  3. Stir in cheeses until melted; add green onions. Drain cavatappi; stir into cheese mixture.
  4. Transfer to a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Combine the bread crumbs, bacon and melted butter; sprinkle over top.
  5. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle with green onion and, if desired, pepper. Yield: 10 servings.
Originally published as Creamy Cavatappi & Cheese in Simple & Delicious February/March 2013, p19

Full-Bodied White Wine

Enjoy this recipe with a full-bodied white wine such as Chardonnay or Viognier.

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Reviewed Jul. 5, 2014

"This recipe makes a lot!!!!! I wish they had given the amount of servings with the recipe, It's very good, but it did take me a fairly long time to make. If you decide to try it, have a big group of people first, and have your ingredients all ready when you start. For 5 people we barly made a dent in it. Kids loved it!! I also used Hormel bacon pieces (real bacon) instead of frying the bacon. Tasted great!!!"

Reviewed Jan. 17, 2014

"Looks like will be making this sometime. Will try with bow ties, see how well that goes over."

Reviewed Feb. 24, 2013

"Everyone loved this version of mac & cheese. I thought when making the dish that I was going to have way too much cheese sauce but it was exactly right for 6 cups of pasta. Next time, however, I will make a 1/2 recipe at a time."

Reviewed Feb. 15, 2013

"This is a definite do-over. Made a pan for a family where the young mother of 4 is going through chemo (and a test portion for myself). They went wild over it. Fabulous restaurant quality recipe. The garlic and green onion really set it apart from other mac & cheese recipes. Loved it."

Reviewed Feb. 10, 2013

"Each member of my family came up to me separately and said, "Mom, this is a keeper!""

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