SPAGHETTI MAC & CHEESE

 INGREDIENTS⁠:

⁠1 pound spaghetti (I used Barilla thick spaghetti)

3 tablespoons salted butter

1 clove garlic minced

3 tablespoons all purpose flour

2 ½ cups half and half

½ cup heavy cream, room temperature

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

Pinch cayenne pepper

1 cup grated sharp white cheddar cheese

1 cup grated smoked cheddar cheese

1 cup grated colby jack cheese


Cheese topping:

⅓ cup grated sharp white cheddar cheese

⅓ cup grated smoked cheddar

⅓ cup grated colby jack cheese



INSTRUCTIONS⁠:


1. Preheat oven to 425℉. Spray a 9”x13” baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Cook spaghetti according to package directions in salted water until al dente; do not overcook. Before draining, reserve 1 cup pasta water.

3. Drain pasta, return to pot, toss with butter or olive oil to prevent clumping.

4. In a small pot, warm the half & half and cream over low heat until it begins to steam, do not boil. Turn off heat.

5. Make the roux: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the flour and cook, whisking until flour smells fragrant and is cooked through, about 1-2 minutes.

6. Whisking constantly, stream the warm half & half mixture into the roux. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a gentle boil then reduce heat to medium low, stirring occasionally.

7. Whisk in cheese a handful at a time until it is all incorporated. If the sauce is too thick, add in a splash of reserved pasta water. The sauce should be on the thin side; it will thicken in the oven.

8. Pour the sauce into the pot with the pasta, toss gently, and pour into the prepared baking dish. Top with cheese topping.

9. Bake uncovered until cheese is melted and spaghetti is warmed through, 10-15 minutes. Serve immediately.

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