16 ounces dry penne, large elbows or shells
8 tablespoons (1 stick) Cabot Salted Butter
½ cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
4 cups hot whole, skim milk or reduced fat
1 pound Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar, or your favorite Cabot Cheddar grated (about 2 cups)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or ½ teaspoon dried basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup crumbled Cheddar Cornbread or Panko breadcrumbs
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COOK pasta until almost tender (al dente) in large pot of boiling salted water. Drain well, transfer to large bowl and set aside.
PREHEAT oven to 375ºF. Lightly grease 9-by-13-inch baking dish and set aside.
Melt butter in heavy-bottomed pot or saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour a little at a time until well blended. Continue stirring for a minute or two longer.
WHISK in milk gradually and continue stirring until sauce is thickened.
ADD cheese, stirring until melted and blended.
REDUCE heat to low. Add basil and dill and cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes longer.
REMOVE sauce from heat. Add about half of sauce to reserved pasta, mixing well. Add remaining sauce and mix again..
SPREAD mixture in baking dish. Top with cornbread or panko crumbs. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
Recipe courtesy of Jimmy Kennedy.
Made this recipe for recent family gathering and it was a crowd pleaser! Everyone LOVED it and raved about the recipe. This was a simple recipe to make and I had fun playing with the ingredients, mainly the cheddar. I used a combination of the cheddars already opened in my fridge: NY Vintage, Seriously Sharp, Alpine and Vermont Sharp. Delicious, can't wait to make again. We froze the leftovers wrapped in individual portions to make it easy to heat up for dinners on the go.