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Italian Mac-n-Cheese

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Serves | Prep Time | Cook Time

Why I Love This Recipe

Chris's favorite mac 'n' cheese recipe, shared during GMA's Mac 'N' Cheese Challenge (2008).

Ingredients You'll Need

1 16-ounce package of elbows, gobbetti or penne pasta
2 teaspoons of salt (added to the water for cooking pasta)

For the sauce:

2 teaspoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
½ teaspoon. freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
¾ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
½ cup shredded Italian Fontina
3 tablespoons mascarpone

For the topping:

1 cup dry plain white bread crumbs
1 tablespoon. olive oil
2 tablespoons Parmigiano Reggiano
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1 cup of shredded Italian Fontina cheese or Bel Paese cheese


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Cook pasta until al dente, according to the package instructions. Drain and place pasta back into the pot.

3. While pasta is cooking, place bread crumbs on a sheet pan or cookie sheet with short sides. Add the olive oil and combine with your fingers until the crumbs are coated. Place in the hot oven and toast. Stir every now and again with a metal spatula until the crumbs are golden brown. This should take about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven. Let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, salt, and Parmigiano Reggiano.

4. In a 2-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour all at once, then slowly whisk in the milk while making sure the mixture is smooth. Whisk continually until mixture comes to a boil. Add the nutmeg, white pepper, salt and continue stirring.

5. Lower heat to a simmer and continue stirring for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the cheeses and mascarpone.

6. Reheat the pot with the drained macaroni in it, and stir gently with a wooden spoon (this is to make sure all the remaining water has evaporated). Turn off the heat. Pour cheese sauce over the macaroni until all pasta is evenly coated. Place into a 9-by-12-inch baking dish and sprinkle 1 cup of Italian Fontina (or Bel Paese) cheese. Broil until top is lightly golden and bubbly, about 5 minutes. Top with the bread crumbs and serve immediately.

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