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I skipped the bread crumb topping, but I must say I really didn't notice the beans other than this was more filling. Good stuff. Recipe courtesy of Spilling the Beans, Cooking and Baking with Beans Every Day.
- 1⁄2 lb macaroni (whole wheat rotini, small shells, or other pasta)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 1⁄2 cups milk
- 3 cups gouda cheese or 3 cups monterey jack cheese or 3 cups parmesan cheese, shredded
- 1 cup white beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 slices whole wheat bread, torn into pieces
- 2 tablespoons canola oil (or olive oil or melted butter)
- 1⁄4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until it's tender but not mushy and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350. In the empty pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for a minute or so, until the mixture starts to turn golden.
- Stir in the milk and bring the sauce to a full boil, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat and simmer for a few minutes, until the mixture is nice and thick.
- Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the cheese until it melts. Add salt to taste, then stir in the drained pasta and beans.
- If you want a breadcrumb topping, pulse the bread, butter, and Parmesan in a food processor until the bread turns into crumbs and the mixture is well blended.
- Pour the macaroni and cheese into a baking dish and top with the breadcrumbs or additional cheese.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the dish is bubbly around the edges and the topping is golden.