Smokin' LaBelle Mac & Cheese
By: Koepke Family Farms/LaBelle Cheese
• 1 lb. (16 oz.) LaBelle Hickory Smoked Cheese, grated medium fine
(reserve 1 cup for top of dish)
• 4 tablespoons butter
• 4 tablespoons flour
• 2 cups whole milk
• 1 ½ cup half and half divided
• ½ teaspoon black pepper
• ½ teaspoon kosher salt
• 3 or 4 dashes hot sauce
• 1 lb. mostaccioli cooked al dente
• 1 cup cracker or seasoned bread crumbs
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
* non-stick cooking spray
Cook mostaccioli according to package directions, finishing at al dente.
Cheese sauce: In a sauce pan, add the butter over medium heat until melted. Whisk in the flour and continue to whisk for one minute over heat. Pour in the milk all at once and whisk until smooth; continue to cook until it thickens. Whisk in the grated cheese one hand full at a time until blended. Be sure to reserve 1 cup of the cheese for the top of the dish. Stir in the pepper, salt and the hot sauce. Finish the cheese sauce by stirring in 1 cup of the half and half then set aside.
Spray non-stick cooking spray in a 3 quart casserole dish. In the pan you cooked the pasta, add the cheese sauce to the pasta, mix well, then pour into the prepared casserole pan. Pour the ½ cup half and half over the casserole.
In a separate bowl, combine the cracker or bread crumbs, olive oil and 1 cup grated cheese, lightly toss, then spread evenly over the casserole to coat the top. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 minutes. (A convection oven works best to brown the top.)
Serving size: serves 4 to 6 people
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