This baked mac ‘n cheese gets it creaminess from blended cottage cheese and its cheesy flavor from extra-sharp cheddar. For speed and convenience, the pasta goes into the oven uncooked, becoming tender as it bakes. The top gets crusty and golden brown in the oven, making the dish even more craveable. The recipe was originally printed in The New York Times and is now a family favorite.
2 tbsp. butter, divided
1 cup cottage cheese (not low-fat)
2 cups milk (not skim)
1 tsp. dry mustard
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1 lb. extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated
½ lb. elbow macaroni
1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Use 1 tablespoon butter to grease 9-inch round or square baking dish.
2. In blender, puree cottage cheese, milk, mustard, salt, pepper, cayenne and nutmeg until smooth.
3. Reserve ¼ cup grated cheese for topping. In large bowl, combine remaining grated cheese, cottage cheese mixture and uncooked macaroni. Pour into prepared pan; cover tightly with foil and bake 30 minutes.
4. Uncover dish; stir gently and smooth top. Sprinkle top with reserved cheddar and dot with remaining tablespoon of butter. Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes longer or until browned. Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.