Growing up with a dad who was born and raised in Ireland and had the best Irish brogue, and a mom who was first generation Italian (maiden name Lamborghini, yes, very Italian!), made for an interesting family dynamics. My dad’s one request was that there be a bowl of boiled potatoes on the table every evening for dinner. My mom obliged, even when she had prepared a big bowl of homemade pasta and meatballs…..there was that bowl of boiled potatoes proudly sitting next to the bowl of pasta! Being the diplomat that I am, I’ve created a recipe with Irish Cheddar, for my dad, and pasta, for my mom. Guaranteed to be a family favorite, Irish Cheddar Mac ‘n Cheese is both creamy and cheesey, and you don’t have to be Irish to love it! This St. Patrick’s Day I fondly remember my dad, my own personal little leprechaun.
Irish Cheddar Mac ‘n Cheese
8 ounces cavatappi pasta, cooked and drained
3 Tbs. butter, divided
2 Tbs. flour
1 tsp. dry mustard powder
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 1/2 cups milk
1 (5 oz.) can evaporated milk
1 (7 oz.) pkg. Aged Irish Cheddar, such as Kerrygold, shredded, about 2 1/2 cups
4 oz. Asiago cheese, shredded, about 1 heaping cup
1/3 cup seasoned Panko breadcrumbs
1 Tbs. chopped parsley
1. Preheat oven to 375F. Coat 1.5 quart baking dish with cooking spray.
2. In large saucepot melt 2 Tbs. butter over medium-high heat. Add flour, mustard powder and salt, stirring until smooth.
3. Whisk in milk and evaporated milk until smooth. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is slightly thickened and coats the back of a spoon.
4. Add Irish Cheddar and Asiago cheeses, stirring until smooth and melted.
5. Remove from heat; stir in cooked pasta until combined and evenly coated. Transfer to prepared baking dish.
6. In small bowl remaining 1 Tbs. butter; stir in panko. Sprinkle over pasta.
7. Bake 25 minutes or until panko is lightly browned and mixture is hot and bubbly.
8. Let stand 10 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and enjoy!