Tuscan Mac and Cheese

In my never ending quest for mac & cheese nirvana, I experiment. My daughter makes an out-of-this-world Italian mac & cheese, so I decided to make a Tuscan style. Cheesy, herbaceous, with a little kick on the back end. The Italian sausage brings salt and a little smoky flavor if you cook it on the grill. This is not the mac and cheese you got in your dorm. I hope you like it.

1 box orecchiette pasta
1 pound Italian sausage (From Rainbow Acres Farm)
12 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
6 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
6 ounce provolone cheese, grated
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
16 – 24 ounces whole milk (you may not need it all)
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes (I used Aleppo)
1/2 yellow onion, diced fine
2 teaspoons fresh micro greens (from Pennington Farms)
3 cloves garlic, grated
Topping:
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
3 tablespoons butter

Cook pasta per package directions except reduce cooking time by 3 minutes.

Cook sausage on a grill or grill pan until internal temperature hits 165 degrees.

In a large sauce pan, add butter and onions.

Add flour and stir with whisk for 5 minutes making a reux.

Add milk, red pepper flakes, and mustard; stir for 6 minutes.

Add cheese a little at a time; stir with whisk until all the cheese is incorporated (if it gets too thick , add some milk).

Add pasta and mix well.

Add herbs.

Cut sausage into rounds about 1/8 inch thick and add to mac and cheese.

Place mixture in casserole dish.

Mix Parmesan, Panko, and herbs; place on top of Mac and cheese.

Bake for 15 minutes at 350.

Switch to broiler.

Broil two minutes or until top is golden brown.

Serve.

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