Mac and Cheese with Zing!

Serves 6. This is a nice rich mac and cheese. Serve with a salad for a great meatless dinner. Or, all by itself, just for fun!

  • 8 ounces uncooked cavatappi, elbow macaroni or shells
  • 2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, plus a small handful to finish the top before baking
  • ½ cup grated Gruyere cheese
  • 3 cups milk
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 2 ½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup Margot’s Morsels in Killer Garlic, Primo Parmesan or Simply Sea Salt, crushed to a medium crumb
  • ½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • A dash or two of Tabasco sauce
  • A sprinkle of smoked paprika

Variations

  • Add 6-8 slices of crispy bacon, crumbled
  • Replace the Gruyere with other cheeses like Gouda, Mozzarella or Parmesan Cheese for a slightly different tang
  • Add cooked snow crabmeat for a meal in itself.
  • Add 1 to 1-1/2 cups of frozen petit peas to get your little ones to eat vegetables, without a wince and add the zest of a lemon to brighten the flavor

 Cook macaroni according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.

In a saucepan, melt butter medium heat. Stir in enough flour to make a roux, up to 2-1/2 tablespoons. Add milk to roux slowly, stirring constantly until cooked and thick about 5 minutes, just until sauce begins to thicken and coat the back of a wooden spoon. Adjust heat on low and allow the sauce to simmer gently for about 1 minute. Taste for salt and this is where your taste comes in, cayenne pepper and splashes of Tabasco to taste. Stir in cheeses, and cook over low heat just until cheese is melted and the sauce is a slightly thick.

Butter a large casserole dish, place macaroni in dish, and pour sauce over macaroni. Stir well. Spread your crushed morsel crumbs and sprinkle with smoked paprika. Cover with foil or lid.

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes. In the last 10 minutes remove foil/lid and sprinkle with cheese, to brown the top. Serve.

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