Million Dollar Macaroni and Cheese Casserole


INGREDIENTS
1 pound cellentani pasta (may sub rigatoni, penne or macaroni)
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
1 12 oz. can evaporated milk
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon chicken bouillon
1 tsp EACH onion pwdr, garlic pwdr, dried parsley, salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
4 cups freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
6-8 slices provolone cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Panko Topping (optional)
3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Cook pasta just until al dente according to package directions – don’t overcook! Strain and rinse with cold water.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish. Set aside.
  3. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat then whisk in flour. Cook, while stirring for 2 minutes. Turn heat to low then gradually whisk in milk. Whisk cornstarch into evaporated milk and gradually add to skillet followed by Dijon mustard and all remaining spices/seasonings.
  4. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly then reduce heat to medium and simmer, whisking occasionally until thickened (but not overly thick). Remove from heat and whisk in sharp cheese until melted. Add pasta and toss until evenly coated (it will seem like a lot of extra sauce which is a good thing).
  5. Pour half of the macaroni and cheese into prepared baking dish. Layer macaroni evenly with provolone cheese followed by an even layer of sour cream. Pour remaining macaroni and cheese over sour cream and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle with 1 cup Parmesan cheese (or more to taste).
  6. Panko topping (optional): Melt butter in olive oil over medium heat in a medium skillet. Add panko and stir to coat. Continue cooking until crumbs become golden brown. Evenly sprinkle over macaroni and cheese.
  7. Bake 25-30 minutes or until bubbly and inside provolone is melted. If not topping with panko, broil until Parmesan is golden. Cool 10 minutes to set before serving.


RECIPE NOTES
***I DO NOT RECOMMEND ASSEMBLING THIS AHEAD OF TIME.  The pasta seeps up the sauce.  Instead, you can prepare the sauce and refrigerate separate from the pasta.  Cook the pasta, toss it in a touch of olive oil so it doesn't stick together, and refrigerate.  When ready to assemble, warm the sauce (you can do this in the microwave).  You might need to add a touch of milk to thin, then proceed as instructed.  This prep will make assembly come together quite quickly.
*You just need enough provolone to cover the 9x13 in a single layer. Typically 8 slices medium provolone or 6 large slices as pictured from Costco. Gouda slices would also be delicious.
***Feel free to swap cheeses for a combination of whatever you have on hand - Asiago, Gouda, smoked cheddar, Monterrey, etc - the possibilities are endless! You can also mix in bacon, ham, etc.
**I find this pasta equally delicious without the panko topping as the Parmesan cheese topping bakes to golden perfection


Original Recipes visit: Million Dollar Macaroni and Cheese Casserole @ carlsbadcravings.com

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