In case you haven’t already noticed, we love pasta. I mean really, really, love pasta. We could pretty much eat it every day. With some pizza thrown in once in a while for variety. Every family holiday or gathering must include pasta. It’s just not New Year’s Day without baked shells. Who can say they have eaten the same thing on the same day of the year for their entire life. Well, everyone in my family can. That’s who.
I feel very strongly about the kind of pasta used. When most people think of macaroni and cheese they probably think of the elbow macaroni found in Kraft macaroni and cheese. Or, for those “rich people” who prefer velveeta, they may think of mini shells. But for me, macaroni and cheese screams “pennette!!” At least this macaroni and cheese recipe does. I have other recipes that scream “fusilli!” or even “gnocchi!”. I know, I’m wild.
Anyway, I have been on a search for the perfect macaroni and cheese recipe for years. And this is it. I will admit, it sounds kind of weird. Cottage cheese in macaroni and cheese? Gross. But then I remembered that my grandma in Michigan used to use cottage cheese as a substitute for ricotta. And that is why I will never be able to live in a small town. What kind of store doesn’t sell ricotta? They probably didn’t have fresh bocconcini either! Can you imagine? I’d die.
1 pound pennette pasta
1 8-ounce block sharp cheddar cheese; shredded
1 12-ounce container small curd cottage cheese
1 8-ounce container sour cream
¼ cup grated romano cheese
hot sauce (optional) I use maybe 2 tablespoons
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup panko
¼ cup butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add pasta, and cook until al dente. Be careful to not overcook the pasta because it will cook more in the oven! Drain. In 9×13 inch baking dish, stir together pasta, shredded cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream, romano cheese, hot sauce, salt and pepper. If it doesn’t seem liquidy enough pour in some milk, a 1/2 cup or as needed. In a small bowl, mix together panko and melted butter. Sprinkle topping over macaroni mixture. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until top is golden.
Source: adapted from allrecipes