I have been looking for this yummy, very filling recipe and finally found it on a People magazine website. I think it tastes exactly like Panera, especially when reheated. Don't forget to add milk when reheating. I am writing this recipe as published, adding my little notes. 12/13/11 - I am changing the hot sauce to optional...The second time I made this, my DH put a little more than the 1/4 tsp (probably 1 extra drop) and all you could taste was hot sauce. I started making it without the hot sauce and it's fine.
- 1 (16 ounce) package small shell pasta
- 1⁄4 cup butter
- 1⁄3 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 1⁄2 cups 2% low-fat milk (I used 1% milk)
- 6 slices American cheese, chopped (I used Land O Lakes white, presliced from the deli)
- 1 cup extra-sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded (I used an 8 oz block of Cabot Vermont extra sharp and cut into small pieces for better melting)
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (I used a store brand)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon hot sauce (optional-I do not add this anymore. If you add too much then all you taste is the hot sauce)
- paprika (optional-I chose not to used it)
- Prepare pasta according to package directions.
- Melt butter in a Dutch oven over low heat. (I just used a regular pan) Whisk in flour and cook 1 minute, whisking constantly.
- Gradually whisk in milk, cook over medium heat, whisking until mixture thickens and is bubbly. Remove from heat.
- Add cheeses, mustard, salt, and hot sauce, stirring until cheese melts and sauce is smooth.
- Stir in pasta and cook over medium heat, 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with paprika if desired. Serve immediately.