I am asked to bring this dish to parties all the time. It’s such a hit with my family, friends, and co-workers. This recipe takes a little time, but it’s a crowd pleaser, and great for leftovers. Little kids may still like Kraft more, but once they have real taste buds, this takes the cake! It's an entree, it's a filling side dish, and it's always a hit.
In a large pot of salted water, boil macaroni. It should be al dente, as it will cook more in the oven. When finished, drain and rinse. Set aside.
Heat up the milk (I microwave it in a big Pyrex measuring cup, but old fashioned stove heating works perfectly too) so that it is nice and warm, almost hot. This will make the cooking go a lot faster. Make a roux by melting butter and whisking in flour. This is quick, so have your milk ready to pour in.
When the roux is thick and bubbly, start gradually add the milk, one cup at a time. Stir with a whisk, until it thickens, then add more milk. When all milk is added, you are done when it reaches it should a pancake batter like consistency. Don’t go too thick – - it will thicken more as it bakes up nicely. Turn off the stove heat.
Stir in salt and pepper, but taste it and see what you like. Add the chili-garlic paste for a little fire. 1 Tbsp is not that much, and people will like it!
Add 3 cups of the sharp cheddar and half of the fresh Parmesan. Mix well until it melts in.
Pour into a baking dish. This should fit into a nice 9 x 13 dish. At this point, you can refrigerate, then take it out about an hour before you are ready to bake it. Or, if you're ready to go now, go now!
Add the remainder of the cheese on top, and bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until the cheese is a little brown and the dish is bubbling. (If you refrigerate prior to baking, cover with foil for the first 15 minutes, then bake for 30-40 minutes.
Serving Size 12 Servings