Mostaccioli (little moustaches, in Italian) and a blend of strong cheddar and the prized Manchego cheese from La Mancha, Spain make this sophisticated twist on your mamma’s macaroni and cheese a delicious meal instead of a stand by side dish.
2 ounces butter, melted, plus extra for preparing the baking pan
½ quart evaporated milk
½ quart heavy cream
4 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons good quality Spanish paprika
2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
18 shrimp, boiled
1 ounce cooked and crumbled pancetta
1-¼ lbs. shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese (preferably Vermont cheddar)
¼ lb grated Manchego
1 lb. fresh Mostaccioli, al dente
½ cup dry sourdough breadcrumbs (or other firm-textured white bread)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 grindings of black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 13” x 9” pan. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together 2 ounces melted butter, evaporated milk and cream, eggs, paprika, salt and white pepper. Set aside.
Make the crumb topping by mixing all ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix cooked pasta and shrimp, then layer one third of the pasta/shrimp mixture in the prepared pan. Cover with one third of the shredded cheeses. Repeat the layers twice more, ending with an even layer of cheese mixture on top.
Pour the evaporated milk mixture evenly over the entire casserole. With gloved hand, press lightly on the top so the ingredients are moistened by the milk.
Bake for 30 minutes, covered with foil. Remove the foil and sprinkle the crumb topping and pancetta evenly over the top. Continue baking for another 15-20 minutes.
Remove from oven and let sit at room temperature 5 minutes before serving. For an authentic presentation, use a couple sprig of rosemary and grated Manchego as a garnish.
Serves 4 to 6 as a main course for lunch or dinner.
Our thanks to Daniel Lee, Jr. of Irmo South Carolina USA
for this great recipe
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