You've got to love a recipe that gets rid of bits of cheese and all your almost-finished packages of pasta. To save time, simply skip the baking step.
6 cups uncooked short pasta, any kind, or a mixture
3 tbsp butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp dry mustard powder, or 1 tsp (5 mL) Dijon mustard
pinch (generous) cayenne
pinch (generous) black pepper
pinch (generous) grated nutmed
1 bay leaf
2 cups milk
4 cups lightly packed grated cheese, (mixture tastes best), divided salt to taste
Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. If you have several types of pasta, add to water in stages, so each is cooked according to time on package. When pasta is cooked to your liking, drain, then return to pot.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Add flour, whisking until blended. Add dry mustard powder (if using Dijon, add with milk), cayenne, nutmeg and bay leaf. Very gradually whisk in the milk, scraping sides of pan to break up all lumps. Continue to whisk until the sauce comes to a boil and thickens, about 8 minutes.
Reduce heat to low. Reserve 11⁄2 cups (375 mL) of the cheese. Add remaining cheese to milk a handful at a time, stirring until each handful melts before adding the next. Stir sauce into pasta. Depending on cheeses used, you may wish to add salt.
Turn into a 3 or 4 L casserole dish and sprinkle with the reserved cheese. Bake until cheese is bubbly with a few golden spots, about 20 minutes.
Makes 6-8 servings.
In a serving: 603 calories, 26 g protein, 26 g fat, 65 g carbs, 4 g dietary fibre, 495 mg calcium, 4 mg iron, 180 mcg folate