Thick and Creamy, Rich and Cheesy, Mac and Cheese
There are, I imagine, just as many recipes for macaroni and cheese as there are cooks making it, and that folks is a awful lot with a few too many. What makes us want or need to create a new recipe when many of us already have plenty darn good ones in our repertoire is beyond me but here I am, jumping on the wagon and playing fiddle with the best of you.
I used the new Barilla White Fiber pasta shells, one of three new types of pasta from this company. The other two are mini penne and mini rotini. All contain three times more fiber than regular pasta and with each 3.5 ounce portion, that's 30% of our daily whole grain recommendations and I am one who likes the extra fiber.
This recipe is based on one I have made many times using only cheddar while many of my other recipes contain various types of cheese. This time I fiddled with the taste by adding the vegetables of southern cooking (known as the trinity) along with a can of condensed milk, which is an invention from the Great Depression and whereby many recipes using the long-lasting canned milk became popular.
I hope you try it, it was a hit during the holidays - ever so creamy and cheesy - by golly, I think that is what I will name it. Enjoy!
Creamy, Cheesy Mac
about 10 servings
1 -12 oz box sea shell pasta
1/2 small sweet onion, chopped
1/4 cup minced celery
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 -12 oz evaporated milk
1/2 cup milk
1 -5 oz Kraft Old English sharp cheddar cheese spread
2 cups shredded mild cheese
2 cups shredded sharp cheese, divided
2 tablespoons diced roasted red pepper
Cook the pasta in boiling salted water, about 4 quarts, for 6 minutes. Drain and place in a large bowl.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Add butter to a large saucepan over medium heat and sauté the onion and celery cooking until tender. Stir in flour until smooth and cook for 1 minute. Add pepper and slowly stir in both the milks increasing the heat to medium high. Stir constantly until sauce thickens. Add the jar of cheese spread and whisk until smooth. Add the 2 cups mild cheese, 1 cup sharp cheese and stir until smooth. Fold in the red peppers. Remove from heat and combine with the cooked pasta. Mixture should be soupy. Pour mixture into a lightly greased 3-quart casserole.
Bake uncovered for about 20 minutes or until bubbly.
Add remaining cup of sharp cheese and dust lightly with paprika. Bake for 5 minutes to melt the topping.