Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese

6 cups water
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 cups (8 ounces) corkscrew pasta
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups milk
2 1/2 cups Cougar Gold®, grated
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350° F and grease a 1 1/2 quart baking dish.

Bring the water, salt and pasta to a rolling boil in a medium saucepan. Cook just until tender. Drain pasta, put into prepared baking dish and set aside. Meanwhile prepare the sauce. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. While whisking, gradually add the flour. Whisk for about 2 minutes or until golden and bubbling. Very slowly add the milk, whisking constantly to avoid developing lumps. Simmer for 15 minutes until thickened, stirring often to prevent mixture from burning. Remove from heat and stir in Cougar Gold® and black pepper to taste. Pour sauce onto cooked pasta (do not stir). Melt 1 tablespoon butter and toss with breadcrumbs. Sprinkle on top of casserole and bake for 30 minutes or until the crumbs are golden.

Serves: 4-6 main-course servings; 8-10 side-dish servings.

Faster, lower calorie version

Follow above directions, with these exceptions: Do not prepare casserole dish or preheat oven. Cook pasta as directed above and drain. For the sauce, use skim milk and microwave it in a heat-proof glass bowl for 5 minutes before making the sauce. Stir pasta into prepared sauce. Serve at once, omitting the buttered breadcrumbs.