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Author Notes: My husband loved this mac-n-cheese recipe so much he has all of his friends asking me to make it now. It's easy, delicious and reheats well. —Midgi
Serves 6 -8
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
- 4 cups aged white cheddar cheese, finely shredded
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1/4 cup dry white wine (not sweet)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, remove from stem and lightly chop
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 package cavatapi pasta
- 1 cup baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- Combine parmesan cheese, ¼ cup cheddar cheese, bread crumbs and parsley in small bowl. Set aside. Bring large pot of water to boil. Season well with salt. Add pasta and cook until almost al dente. About 7 minutes. Once pasta is cooked drain and set aside.
- Pre-heat small skillet to medium-high heat. Add butter and melt. Reduce heat to medium and add minced garlic; cook for about 30 seconds until garlic is no longer raw. Add mushrooms and sauté until soft and tender.
- Meanwhile, in medium sized heavy saucepan melt butter and flour together over medium heat. Allow to cook at least 1 minute or so to cook out the raw flour.
- Once the roux turns golden in color, gently add 1 cup of the broth and whisk until well incorporated. Add wine and continue to stir. Continue to add broth one cup at a time, consistently stirring to ensure there are no lumps. After all the broth is added, season with salt and pepper and add thyme and bay leaves. Bring to light simmer and cook about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan.
- Slowly add cream and continue to stir. Add nutmeg and cook additional 5 – 7 minutes to allow sauce to thicken. This is called a béchamel sauce or white sauce. It can be used for many different recipes.
- Remove from heat. Let cook about 3 – 5 minutes. Slowly, one handful at a time, add in the cheese. Stir well until each handful is well blended and melted into the sauce. Continue until all the cheese is used. Taste and season with salt and pepper. I tend to like a lot of pepper.
- Combine pasta and cheese sauce until well incorporated. I used a large bowl to make for easy stirring. Be sure to remove the bay leaves. Add in mushrooms and stir. Place in baking pan or pans, top with cheese and bread crumb mixture and bake in 350o oven for 20 minutes until topping is bubbling and golden brown.