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Creamy Cavatappi & Cheese

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 mild heat that’s delectable with the smoky topping. —Barbara Colucci, Rockledge, Florida
  • 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 shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup cubed Velveeta
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 3 thick-sliced bacon strips, cooked and coarsley crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • Coarsely ground pepper, optional


  • Cook cavatappi according to package directions.
  • 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 until thickened, about 2 minutes.
  • Stir in cheeses until melted; add green onions. Drain cavatappi; stir into cheese mixture.
  • Transfer to a greased 13x9-in. baking dish. Combine the bread crumbs, bacon and melted butter; sprinkle over top.
  • Bake, uncovered, at 350° until bubbly, 20-25 minutes. Sprinkle with green onion and, if desired, pepper.

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  • P vinod
    Mar 28, 2018

    Lovely recipe-love cheese-will try to get it made at home or will try to get it in a big restaurant hopefully-thanks for the recipe.

  • whatnancyloves
    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
    Dec 15, 2014

    amazing!! fairly easy to make too

  • suesschrod
    Oct 31, 2014

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

  • cooksonhigh
    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
    Oct 29, 2014

    Excellent recipes.

  • viera
    Oct 29, 2014

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

  • diane911
    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
    Oct 29, 2014

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

  • Lynn M.
    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!!!