4-5 slices Cuban bread (French or Italian can be substituted)
1 pound uncooked penne, large elbows or shells
8 tablespoons (1 stick) Cabot Salted Butter
1 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
4 cups hot milk
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon hot sauce, or more to taste
16 ounces Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar, grated (about 4 cups)
¼ pound sliced ham, cut into ½ - inch pieces
¼ pound sliced roast pork, cut into ½ - inch pieces
½ cup dill pickles, cut into ½ - inch pieces
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PREHEAT oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease 9-by-13-inch baking dish or coat with cooking spray.
PLACE bread slices on baking sheet and place in oven for 4 to 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool, then pulse in food processor or crush in plastic bag into coarse crumbs (you need about 1 cup).
COOK pasta according to package directions until almost done (al dente). Drain well, transfer to large bowl and set aside.
MELT butter in heavy-bottomed pot or saucepan over medium heat; whisk in flour until well blended. Continue whisking for another minute or two, not letting mixture brown.
GRADUALLY whisk in milk and keep stirring for a few more minutes. Whisk in dry mustard and hot sauce until well blended.
ADD cheese, stirring until melted and blended. Reduce heat to low and stir for 3 to 4 minutes longer.
STIR about half of sauce into pasta. Add ham, roast pork, pickles and remaining cheese sauce and mix again.
PLACE mixture in prepared baking dish. Scatter breadcrumbs evenly over top. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
Though this recipe required quite a few pans, it was excellent! I'm definitely adding it to my rotation. I actually used store-bought breadcrumbs and chicken instead of pork and it turned out delicious. Portions were very generous as well. Perfect for a Sunday dinner, family holiday, etc. It was great!