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This sounds so good for my tender mouth. Found it in The Seattle Times (LOL) who attribute it to being from From "Macaroni & Cheese" by Marlena Spieler. My tender tooffs thank you Marlena. If this keeps up I'll have to be buying your book.
- 12 ounces macaroni, small-elbow (small shells fine too, about 3 cups)
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 1⁄2 cups milk, hot, but not boiling
- 1⁄2 green bell pepper, diced
- 1⁄2 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
- 1⁄2 teaspoon fresh thyme leave (1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed, fine too)
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon prepared mustard (yellow & Creole fine, I love Zatarain's )
- 1⁄2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 12 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 15 -20 green olives, pimiento-stuffed, sliced
- hot sauce, to taste
- salt, to taste
- black pepper, freshly ground, to taste
- 3 tablespoons cracker crumbs (breadcrumbs fine too)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook pasta in a large pot of rapidly boiling water until almost al dente. Reserve cup cooking water, then drain.
- In a large, heavy-bottom saucepan lightly saute onion over medium heat in olive oil until it softens, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in garlic, cook for a minute, and sprinkle in flour. Cook 1 minute. Remove from heat and add bay leaf and milk all at once. Return to heat and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, 5 minutes or until sauce thickens. If any flour lumps remain, whisk with a wire whisk for a few moments. Remove from heat, discard bay leaf and set aside.
- Combine pasta with sauce and mix in diced bell pepper, mustard seeds, thyme, paprika, chili powder, prepared mustard and dry mustard. Reserve about 1/2-cup grated cheese and add remaining to pasta. Stir in olives and hot sauce. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a 2 1/2-quart casserole. Sprinkle top with reserved cheese and breadcrumbs. Dot with butter.
- Bake 30 minutes or until topping is golden, the cheese melted and the crumbs crispy.