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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 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 :)"

Reviewed Dec. 15, 2014

"amazing!! fairly easy to make too"

Reviewed Oct. 31, 2014

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

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."

Reviewed Oct. 29, 2014

"Excellent recipes."

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