Creamy Mac & Cheese
Don't be afraid to dish out a classic this holiday season. When the mild, rich flavor of Vermont Cheddar melts into cavatappi noodles, it's bound to go down in the recipe books.
- Preheat oven to 325°F and grease a 3-quart, or 9x13" baking dish. Set aside.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add dried pasta and cook 1 minute less than the package recommends for al dente. Drain then drizzle with a little bit of olive oil to keep from sticking.
- While water is coming to a boil, grate both cheeses and toss together to mix, then divide into 3 piles: Approximately 3 cups for the sauce, 1 1/2 cups for the inner layer, and 1 1/2 cups for the topping.
- Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle in flour and whisk to combine. Cook for approximately 1 minute, whisking often. Slowly, and partially, add milk and half & half, whisking between pours, until smooth. Continue to slowly pour in the remaining milk and half & half, whisking constantly, until fully combined and smooth.
- Continue to heat over medium heat, whisking very often, until brought to a very thick consistency, similar to a semi-thinned out condensed soup.
- Stir in salt, pepper, paprika and 1 1/2 cups of the mixed cheeses — stirring in another 1 1/2 cups as it melts and combines — until fully melted and smooth.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine drained pasta with cheese sauce, stirring to combine fully. Pour half of the pasta mixture into the prepared baking dish. Top with 1 1/2 cups of grated cheeses, then top that with the remaining pasta mixture.
- Sprinkle the top with panko and the last 1 1/2 cups of cheese and bake for 15 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and lightly golden brown. Garnish with parsley.