1 pound elbow macaroni
¼ cup butter, softened to room temperature
¼ cup flour
2 cups whole milk
8 ounces grated sharp white cheddar cheese ( 2 ¼ cups)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
2 Tablespoons grated onion
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup whole milk ricotta
1 cup half and half
8 oz. provolone cheese, cut in strips
¼ cup butter, melted
1 ½ cups soft bread crumbs
5 oz. parmesan cheese, grated
Makes 6 - servings
1. Cook macaroni in a large pot of boiling water for 5 to 7 minutes, or until slightly firm. Drain and rinse under cold water. Transfer to a large bowl.
2. Melt butter in heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat. Remove pan from heat, add flour, and stir with a wooden spoon until completely combined to make a roux. Set pan over medium heat and cook roux until little bubbles form around the edges, about 1 to 2 minutes.
3. Remove pan from heat and add milk, stirring to blend. Return pan to heat and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Off the heat, add cheddar cheese, salt, pepper, paprika, and onion. Stir until cheese melts and sauce is smooth. If cheese doesn’t melt completely, stir gently over low heat until melted.
4. Fold cheese sauce into cooled macaroni with a spatula. Whisk eggs with ricotta and add to bowl with macaroni. Add half and half and stir until combined.
5. Set the oven rack to the middle position. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9 inch by 13 inch ovenproof glass baking dish with vegetable spray.
6. Place half the macaroni mixture in prepared baking dish and smooth the top. Cover with strips of provolone. Top with remaining macaroni and smooth.
7. To make the topping: mix melted butter, bread crumbs, and parmesan cheese. Sprinkle topping evenly over macaroni.
8. Cover dish with foil and bake 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking another 10 to 15 minutes, or until macaroni is bubbling and top is nicely browned. Serve at once. Store leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator.
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