I remember coming home from school with a friend of mine in like, 5th grade. We ran right upstairs to start gabbing about school, life, our teacher etc. I was AWKWARD at that age, and I’m not exaggerating. I was super skinny, scraggly brown hair (I totally wanted to be blonde), and all around a total dork.
Quick side note- I kind of hope our girls are dorks. I would never want them to be teased like I was or feel that horrible loneliness that accompanies it, but I am glad that I went through it. First of all, it made me grow to truly appreciate kindness and friendship, and it made me who I am today. Sometimes you just plain appreciate things, and stay out of more trouble when a good book is a great friend.
Anyway, this was practically my only friend at school and we had loads of fun together. My mom soon called us down to dinner, and to our surprise she had made macaroni and cheese with chicken nuggets. My friend thought it was so fun because her mom was all about organic and lean (gosh, I wonder now if it totally ticked her off what we ate at my house!) and I felt awesome. I don’t think we ever had mac-n-cheese and chicken nuggets again for dinner, but for one brief moment I was kinda cool, even if it was just for one person.
I may not make boxed mac-n-cheese for dinner, but I still love a good, cheesy pasta. This one definitely wins for it’s gooey cheese and the best part? Those shells totally hold even more cheese sauce which is awesomeness in every bite!!!
Gooey Macaroni and Cheese Shells
6 Tablespoons Butter, Unsalted
2 Garlic Cloves, chopped in half
1/2 Cup Flour
1 Quart plus 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
1/2 Cup Milk
2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
1/2 Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
2 1/2 Cups Vintage White Cheddar Cheese
2 1/2 Cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 Cup Colby Jack Cheese
1 1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese
2 Teaspoons Sea Salt
1 Pound Shells Pasta
!Bread Crumb Topping
2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
1 Cup Panko Breadcrumbs
Pre heat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a large sauce pan, add the butter and turn the heat to medium high. Allow the butter to melt almost completely and add the garlic. Cook the garlic for 30 seconds and quickly add the flour, whisking to combine. Let the flour mixture clump up, and cook until nutty about 1 minute.
Slowly add the heavy cream, and milk, whisking as you pour. Allow the mixture to thicken slightly and add the Worcestershire and dijon. Whisk until combined and add all of the cheeses. Let the cheeses melt until smooth, seasoning with salt if necessary.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta shells until al dente and then add to the cheese sauce. Stir to combine and place in an 8×8″ baking dish.
Melt the 2 tablespoons of butter and toss with the breadcrumbs, Spread evenly over the pasta.
Place in the oven for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.