Maepole Mac and Cheese
Using cottage cheese makes this dish extra creamy, and using dry pasta saves a step. The extra moisture of a young cheddar will add to the creaminess of the sauce. Cavatappi pasta is a corkscrew shape and its grooved sides hold more of the cheese mixture, but if you can’t find cavatappi, feel free to use elbow pasta. For added luxury, top with buttered breadcrumbs before the second bake.
- 2 tablespoons salted butter divided
- 1 cup full-fat cottage cheese
- 2 ½ cups half and half
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- Pinch cayenne
- Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon salt plus more to taste
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound sharp white cheddar cheese grated
- ½ pound cavatappi pasta uncooked
- ►Use 1 tablespoon butter to grease a 9-inch round or square baking dish.
- ►In a blender, purée cottage cheese, half and half, mustard, cayenne, nutmeg, salt, and pepper together. Reserve ¼ cup grated cheese for topping. In a large bowl, combine remaining grated cheese, cottage cheese mixture, and uncooked pasta. Pour into a prepared baking dish,
- cover with foil, and let sit for 1 hour.
- ►Heat oven to 375°F and position an oven rack in upper third of oven. Bake dish for 30 minutes.
- ►Remove foil and gently stir, sprinkle with remaining cheese, and dot with remaining butter. Bake, uncovered, 20 to 30 minutes more, until browned. Rest for 15 minutes before serving.
Adapted from Melissa Clark of The New York Times