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Saturday, March 21, 2020

5 Cheese Ziti in Bechamel

Ever have a bunch of packages of cheese, too much to throw away, but not enough for a recipe. This is one such recipe, containing a mishmosh of lots of little portions of cheese.  When I make mac and cheese, the kids usually dive right in, sometimes choosing a creamy stove top version over the Southern style baked one.  That's fine and dandy with me, though I think they sometimes don't appreciate the love that goes into a baked one.
By creating a nice creamy bechamel, you can add all the portions of cheese, for a delicious dinner in no time and cut down on food waste. Whatever cheeses you have on hand will do, I happened to have five. (havarti, mild and sharp cheddar, parmesan and gouda. Together they made about 2 1/2 c. which worked well in the sauce. 

The sauce may be achieved by first melting 4 tbsp. butter and a couple drizzles of olive oil to a medium saucepan over medium heat.
Next sprinkle in about 1/4 c. AP flour and cook for about 1 minute, cooking out the raw flour taste.
Next, whisk in a can of evaporated milk, dissolving the flour and making a bechamel. 
To the bechamel add 1 tsp. onion powder and a dash of paprika. The sauce will thicken as it cooks, so turn the temperature settings to medium. 
Stir in about 1 cup of pasta water you reserved from cooking the pasta of choice to al dente, about 7 minutes and 1 cup of hot water, whisking together to thicken.  The pasta will finish cooking in the bechamel. 
Then, add your cheeses.   Stir until cheeses are incorporated, then fold in pasta. Reduce to medium low and cook for about 2 more minutes. 
Makes 8 to 10 servings.

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Best,
D. Smith :)

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