This ultra-creamy version of the classic dish is so indulgent! Down south where my mother’s family is from, they use ingredients like dry mustard and evaporated skim milk. Want to get real down home? Top it with crushed corn flakes. The broccoli and red pepper gives this rich recipe nutritional virtue.
- 1 (14-ounce) box elbow macaroni, ditalini or orecchiette
- 4 (12-ounce) cans evaporated skim milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 2 (8-ounce) bars cream cheese, room temperature (2 cups)
- 4 cups (16 ounces) shredded extra-sharp white Cheddar
- 4 cups (16 ounces) shredded mild Cheddar or Monterey Jack
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 cups broccoli florets
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into ¼-inch dice, stem, seeds and ribs removed
- 8 ounces sharp yellow Cheddar cheese, sliced thinly
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray a 4-quart lasagna-style pan with nonstick vegetable oil spray and set aside.
- Prepare the pasta according to the package instructions for cooking it al dente minus 2 minutes, drain, and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the evaporated milk and cream. Set aside.
- In a large saucepan set over high heat, heat the butter until it melts and begins to foam. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking constantly to remove any lumps, about 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture forms a pale blond paste. (This is called a roux in French.) Whisk in the salt, mustard, white pepper, and nutmeg. While still whisking, slowly add the milk mixture and whisk until completely incorporated and smooth. When it is just coming to a gentle boil, add the cream cheese and whisk until it has melted and the mixture is smooth. Add all the shredded cheeses and the Parmesan and whisk until melted and smooth.
- Add the broccoli, bell pepper, and pasta and stir to combine until well coated. Remove from the heat.
- Scoop half of the mixture into the prepared lasagna pan. Arrange half of the sliced cheese on top in a single layer; then spoon the remaining pasta mixture evenly over the top. Cover with the remaining sliced cheese and sprinkle with the paprika.
- Place in the oven on a baking sheet (to prevent any spills dripping to the oven bottom) and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until warmed through completely and lightly browned on top; the cheese and sauce should be melted through and through. Serve immediately.