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Creamy Cavatappi & Cheese Recipe

Creamy Cavatappi & Cheese Recipe

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. YIELD:10 servings

Ingredients

  • 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
  • TOPPINGS:
  • 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

Directions

  • 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.

Wine Pairings

Full-Bodied White Wine

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