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Old 04-30-2009, 10:06 AM
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Kicked-up Monterey Macaroni & Cheese

8 ounces uncooked dry radiatore or rotini pasta
5 tablespoons butter, divided
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk (whole preferred)
1 1/4 cups Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1 1/4 cups Pepper Jack Cheese, shredded
1 cup cooked small bay shrimp, peeled
1 cup quartered artichoke hearts, diced
1/3 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
1 teaspoon (or to taste) lemon zest
1/2 cup plain panko bread crumbs
1/3 cup coarsely chopped toasted hazelnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In large saucepan, cook pasta according to directions on package. Drain.

Spray 2-quart casserole with nonstick cooking spray. In medium saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat; add garlic and cook 30 seconds. Remove from heat. Stir in the flour and salt. Gradually stir in milk and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook 1 minute more. Remove from heat.

Stir in 1 cup special reserve extra sharp cheddar cheese, 1 cup pepper jack cheese, shrimp, artichoke hearts, dried tomatoes, lemon zest and the cooked pasta. Pour into casserole dish. Sprinkle top with remaining 1/4 cup of each cheese. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in microwave or saucepan. Add bread crumbs and toss to coat. Sprinkle crumbs and hazelnuts over casserole.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly and crumbs are golden brown.
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