Serves 8-10 as a side dish
- 1 pound Bellwether Farms Carmody, grated
- ½ pound Cave Aged Gruyere, grated – you can sub a sharp cheddar or nicely aged cheese.
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 pint milk (2 cups)
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika - can use1/2 tsp nutmeg instead, we like it spicy
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 pound Orchiette Pasta – use can use elbow, but we love the “little ears”
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
Now preheat your oven to 375-400 degrees. Cook your pasta in a stock pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Since every pasta is different you’ll need to check it frequently to make sure you don’t over cook it. Mix together the grated cheeses and set aside.
Make your roux
: Melt butter in a small pan over medium heat. Whisk in flour until completely incorporated (no lumps). Let this mixture cook gently on the stove until light golden. In a medium sauce pot, warm the milk to just under a boil. Once the milk is warm, start adding in to the roux, whisking constantly, until mixture returns to a slight simmer. The mix will thicken. Turn off the heat and add 2/3 of the cheese and put the heat back on to low, all the time stirring until the cheese is melted and smooth. Add smoked paprika. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Once your pasta is cooked, drain it in a colander. Pour the cooked macaroni into a large bowl and add the cheese sauce. Stir to combine, making sure every macaroni is coated with the sauce. Add in most or the reserved cheese mixture, saving some to sprinkle on top. Pour the mixture into a large cast iron skillet or oven-proof baking dish. Melt 3 T butter in saute pan, add the panko bread crumbs and coat well. Take off heat and sprinkle on top of dish with the reserved cheese. Pop the dish into a hot 375-400 degree oven on the top rack. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until you see the sauce bubbling and the crust is golden brown and crisp. Pull from the oven and let rest for 5-10 minutes before eating.