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Three-Cheese Mac & Cheese



Ingredients:
8   oz uncooked orecchiette pasta
1/4   cup butter (1/2 stick), melted
1/4   cup all-purpose flour
2   garlic cloves, pressed
2 1/2   cups 2% milk
1   tsp dry mustard
1/2   tsp salt
1/8   tsp coarsely ground black pepper
4   oz sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
4   oz Gruyère cheese, shredded
2   oz fontina cheese, shredded
1   tbsp chopped fresh chives
1   cup cheese and garlic croutons
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside. Meanwhile, combine butter, flour and garlic pressed with Garlic Press in (2-qt./1.9-L) Saucepan; whisk until smooth. Cook over medium-high heat 2-3 minutes, whisking occasionally. Slowly add milk to flour mixture, whisking constantly until smooth. Add mustard, salt and black pepper. Simmer 8-11 minutes or until sauce is thickened, stirring occasionally. Add cheeses, one at a time, whisking constantly until sauce is smooth. Stir in chives. Remove Saucepan from heat.
  2. Meanwhile, coarsely chop croutons using Food Chopper. Add cooked pasta to Round Covered Baker. Carefully pour sauce over pasta; mix well and top with croutons. Bake, uncovered, 15-20 minutes or until sauce is bubbling and croutons are golden brown. Remove baker from oven. Let stand, covered, 10 minutes before serving.

Yield: 4 servings

Nutrients per serving: Calories 790, Total Fat 41 g, Saturated Fat 22 g, Cholesterol 120 mg, Carbohydrate 70 g, Protein 36 g, Sodium 1020 mg, Fiber 2 g

Cook's Tips: The cheeses in this recipe give it a special spin. Fontina is a semifirm, creamy Italian cheese with a mild, nutty flavor. Gruyère is a Swiss cheese with a rich, sweet, nutty flavor. White cheddar, the most familiar of the three, has a sharp flavor that provides contrast to the other two varieties.

Other types of pasta, such as elbow, can be substituted for the orecchiette pasta, if desired.

Dry mustard is the ground seed of the mustard plant. It can be found in the spice aisle of most grocery stores.

Serve this dish with steamed vegetables or a colorful salad.