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Creamy Crispy Thrifty Rotini
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This recipe was part of the Food Fight: Macaroni and Cheese Challenge which ended Feb 29, 2008 04:00 PM.
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Total Time: 20 minutes

Active Time:

Makes: 1 delicious bowl with a bite for your jealous roommate.

Okay. Oddly enough, I decided tonight I had a huge craving for home-made mac & cheese. I made it, ate it, and then saw this on CHOW. Sign from the Gods? Perhaps.

So I love me some mac & cheese, but I don’t have a lot of money for top shelf cheeses, nor do I have a lot to time for it to bake for 30ish minutes once I’ve decided I must have it.

I also really love the crispy top of baked mac & cheese, so I feel pretty defeated once I get past it and onto the abundance of creaminess. So I came up with this handy little recipe that can be swapped for pretty much any cheese that you’ve got on hand. It’s crispy on the top of each piece of pasta, but stays creamy and tender on the other. Best of both worlds! Oh and you know that delicious sound that mac & cheese makes when you stir it in the bowl? Yep, it’s got that too.


  1. 1Bring big pot of water to a boil. Add salt and rotini once boiling. While that’s working, melt butter over low flame in small saucepan. Add Wondra and stir constantly, until mixture turns a light gold.
  2. 2Add milk and stir out any lumps. Stir until mixture comes up to a light bubble. Add Cayenne, Red Pepper flakes and Black Pepper.
  3. 3Rip Provolone into manageable pieces. Add into milk mixture, stirring to incorporate. Add handful and a half of Parmesan. When the sauce starts to look a little stringy, add splash of white wine.
  4. 4Drain pasta just before al dente. Stir into sauce so that all the pasta is coated. Add any salt to taste.
  5. 5Preheat broiler. Line baking sheet with tin foil. Pour pasta into single layer on baking sheet. Leave any excess sauce in the saucepan. Top pasta with handful of Parmesan.
  6. 6Put baking sheet under broiler for 3-4 minutes, or until Parmesan starts to become golden.
  7. 7Pour remaining sauce into bowl, reheating first if necessary. Top with toasty creamy pasta. Stir and enjoy.

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