Best Mac and Cheese

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12 oz penne pasta

1/2 c. (2 oz) sharp cheddar cheese, grated

1/2 c. ( 2 oz) Gruyere cheese, grated

1/2 t. chili powder

4 c. cheese sauce (recipe below)

Cook the pasta 2 minutes less than package instructions, rinse in cold water and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine cooked pasta and the cheese sauce in a large bowl and mix carefully.  Scrape the pasta into a greased 9 x 13 pan.  Sprinkle with cheeses and chili powder.  Bake for 20 min.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Sauce:

1/4 c. butter

1/3 c. all-purpose flour

3 c. milk

1 c. (4 oz) sharp cheddar cheese

2 1/2 c. (10 oz) semi-hard cheese grated, my favorite is Beecher’s Flagship

1/4 c. (2 oz) monterey jack cheese, grated

1/2 t. kosher salt

1/4 t. chili powder

1/8 t. garlic powder

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat and whisk in the flour.  Continue whisking  and cooking for 2 minutes.  Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly.  Cook until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.  Remove from heat.  Add the cheese, salt, chile powder and garlic powder.  Stir until the cheese is melted and all ingredients are incorporated, about 3 minutes.  Serves 8.

*save time and use your Cuisinart food processor to grate all the cheese

 

 

Kid-friendly Hint:  So far, no child has not loved this dish but if your kids are used to boxed mac n cheese I would use medium cheddar cheese and leave out the Gruyere on to topping.  Their flavors are more pungent and strong.

 

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