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    Ditalini al Forno con Molti Formaggi

    If you are a cheese lover, as am I, one might assume that you have some, what I call, “cheese nubs” sitting in your refrigerator. If you don’t have any nubs not to worry, you can purchase a variety of cheeses at your favorite retailer. Since most of mine melt easily I decided to play around with that traditional macaroni and cheese. This recipe is still evolving so come back to see what transpires.

    You will need:

    Assorted cheese nubs – 4 cups total – amount of each depends on which of the cheeses being used you wish to highlight. I used grated aged cheddar, white cheddar, mozzarella, provolone, romano, parmesan and asiago I thought about adding some bleu cheese but held off since some folk might not like the taste of a good bleu.

    Ditalini 1/2 lb. – a nice replacement for the traditional elbow.

    Bechamel – 4 cups – you can search for a good recipe there are many on the internet.
    Hot sauce – optional
    Bread crumbs – two cups – I used Panko style they seem to work the best.
    Olive Oil – enough to coat the bread crumbs.

    In a pot large enough to hold the pasta bring 3 or 4 quarts of water to a rolling boil, once the water is boiling add 3 or 4 TBSP salt add the dry pasta and cook until just under al denté. Meanwhile bring the Bechamel up to heat, and add the cheeses stirring after each addition. Continue stirring until all the cheese is thoroughly melted and combined, reserve one cup. Drain pasta, reserving one cup of the cooking water, add pasta to cheese sauce stirring as added, stir until well combined. If the mixture looks too dry add more of the cheese sauce and water. It should be creamy as it will set once it is baked. Thoroughly butter an oven proof baking dish, 9 x 13 works well, pour cheese mixture into dish, combine olive oil and panko then sprinkle over top of cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes.

    I like my Mac and Cheese on the denser side, if you want a creamier consistency add some heavy cream to the cheese sauce.

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