I got this recipe from a friend, when I mentioned that we were participating in a Mac and Cheese Cook-off over Labor Day weekend… I had wanted to make a batch ahead of time, but didn’t have a chance, so I went into it with my fingers crossed, and am pretty happy with the results!
First, gather the ingredients:
- 1/4 c butter
- 5 c chopped leeks (white and pale green parts only; about 5 large)
- 1/4 c all purpose flour
- 3 1/2 c whole milk
- 1 lb coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 T Dijon mustard
- 1 t hot pepper sauce (I used Sriracha)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 lb penne pasta
Lightly butter your baking dish. I used a 12″ stainless skillet, since I wanted a lid for transport and reheating at the party.
Melt 1/4 cup butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat.
Add leeks; stir to coat.
Cover saucepan and cook until leeks are tender, mine took about 15 minutes.
Uncover saucepan; add flour.
Stir 2 minutes.
Add milk; bring to simmer, stirring often.
Add cheese, mustard, and hot sauce. (Keep a handful of cheese set aside for garnish)
Stir until cheese melts.
Remove from heat.
Season cheese sauce to taste with salt.
Whisk eggs in medium bowl.
Gradually whisk in 1 cup cheese sauce. (To bring eggs up to temperature so they don’t cook immediately upon being dropped into the piping hot cheese sauce!)
Stir egg mixture into cheese sauce in saucepan.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. My Barilla Penne said to cook for about 10 minutes, I took it out at not quite 6 and it ended up perfect.
Drain and return to pasta pot.
Stir cheese sauce into pasta in pot.
Transfer to prepared baking dish.
Top with a handful or so of grated cheese (optional)
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Bake pasta until cheese sauce is bubbling around edges and some ends of pasta are golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.
So I made it right up to the point it would go in the oven… I then let it sit for almost 5 hours before baking it, and I served it to the judges straight out of the oven.
It. Was. Delicious.
I didn’t take any pictures of the finished, gorgeous, baked and bubbling dish, so you’ll have to settle for this picture of me and my trophy instead!