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

Nutritional Facts

1 cup: 706 calories, 38g fat (21g saturated fat), 110mg cholesterol, 782mg sodium, 60g carbohydrate (8g sugars, 3g fiber), 32g protein.


  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 13x9-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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whatnancyloves User ID: 6857644 219568
Reviewed Feb. 2, 2015

"Yes this is definitely a grown-up mac & cheese - my 13 y/o son not so keen about it and asking what's that spicy taste, I'll make one again for the adults and for kids without the hot sauce :)"

homecookcharity User ID: 7810209 215019
Reviewed Dec. 15, 2014

"amazing!! fairly easy to make too"

suesschrod User ID: 6371461 120318
Reviewed Oct. 31, 2014

"My family's absolute favorite! It is also yummy when warmed up:)"

cooksonhigh User ID: 7872139 140884
Reviewed Oct. 30, 2014

"I made this last night. Definitely not a cheap recipe, but very good. I did add 3/4 lb of cubed Boars Head Black Forest Ham because I wanted it to be my main dish and an extra slice of Bacon because who doesn't love Bacon. It does make a lot, but we like the convenience of leftovers. I have 3 elderly parents I send food to. My mom loved it! My mother-in-law will have it tonight. Served with Sugar Snapped Peas. Yes, I'll make this again."

Yolanda-Patricia User ID: 7560197 190289
Reviewed Oct. 29, 2014

"Excellent recipes."

viera User ID: 8012000 153073
Reviewed Oct. 29, 2014

"What a great adult mac and cheese. The hot sauce cinches it for us."

diane911 User ID: 7397614 199186
Reviewed Oct. 29, 2014

"Milk, butter, bacon and cheese's whatever the nutritional values are you know they are not going to be good. If you want a healthy Mac and cheese this wil not be it. You can sub all items for lesser calroric intake but it probably won't taste the same. Omg! Delish!! Or consider smaller servings.."

Weems Grnadma User ID: 4304001 200070
Reviewed Oct. 29, 2014

"You can easily assume when there are no nutritional facts you don't even want to know!"

Lynn M. User ID: 1616251 153072
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!!!"

Joscy User ID: 2694585 127630
Reviewed Jan. 17, 2014

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

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