My sister in law introduced this recipe to our family, and my son recently requested it for his birthday dinner. My favorite thing about this dish is the “real” breadcrumbs on top. It’s so worth the extra couple of minute it takes to run some crusty french bread through the food processor or blender. If you have leftover french bread from this recipe, just put it in the freezer and use it to make more bread crumbs in the future. Also, I feel like recipes turn out better when the cheese is not pre-grated. Although I use it occasionally to save time, there is something about that white powder that coats pre-grated cheese to prevent it from sticking together (cellulose) that causes the cheese to melt differently.
- 4 cups pasta (I used cavatappi)
- 6 tablespoons butter, divided
- 4 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups milk
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 8 ounces colby jack cheese, shredded
- 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 4 ounces crusty french bread
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Cook pasta according to directions. While it is boiling, start on the cheese sauce.
- In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat.
- When the butter is melted, whisk in the flour. Cook until golden brown and foamy.
- Slowly whisk in the milk until the mixture is smooth.
- Cook the mixture, stirring frequently until it bubbles gently and thickens, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low.
- Stir in the spices, and then cheeses.
- Whisk until the cheese is melted into the sauce.
- Remove from heat.
- Pour the cheese sauce into the drained pasta and stir well.
- Pour the pasta into a greased 2 quart casserole dish.
- Use a food processor or blender to pulse the bread into course crumbs.
- In a medium bowl, mix the breadcrumbs with 2 tablespoons of melted butter.
- Sprinkle the mixture over the pasta, and bake for 25 minutes.