We previously made the recipe with the classic elbow pasta but got cavatappi this time. We always make our pasta by weight so it was surprising when the cavatappi didn't actually expand very much. At all. We ended up using all 16 ounces to get the same volume as the elbows got to from eight ounces. Huh. So the trick is to make enough pasta to fill up a casserole dish. We also chose not to do green chilis like before but I did jalapeño and Austin did bleu cheese. The baseline recipe can be changed easily so you can throw in whatever you have on hand.
16 oz. cavatappi pasta/8 oz. elbow macaroni, 2 c. 2% milk, 4 T butter, 4 T flour, 2 c. shredded cheese, salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste, jalapeños/bleu cheese to taste (not together though!), 3/4 c. panko breadcrumbs 1/2 c. P:armesan cheese, 2 T butter, melted
1. Boil the pasta until al dente. 2. Melt butter in your pasta pot while the pasta drains; add flour, salt and pepper and whisk together until well blended. 3. Pour in milk gradually, stirring constantly until thickened. 4. Gradually add the cheese, stirring until incorporated. 5. Add dash of cayenne to taste. 6. Combine pasta, mix-ins, and cheese mixture; pour into greased casserole dish. 7. Combine panko, Parmesan, and melted butter. Top macaroni mixture with the crumbs. 8. Bake at 375º about 25 minutes until bubbling and top is golden brown.
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