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This one-pan version of mac and cheese is dangerously quick and easy to make. Rather than boiling the pasta in a pot, then draining it and stirring in a flour-thickened cheese sauce made in a separate pan, we simmer the noodles in a skillet using a modest amount of liquid before simply stirring in three different types of cheese. The starch the pasta releases as it cooks acts as a binder and helps create a rich, velvety sauce that clings beautifully to the noodles. Cheeses such as cheddar, Gruyère or fontina bring a gooeyness and foundational flavor, while Gorgonzola adds creaminess along with a little pungency, and a dry cheese like Parmesan, pecorino or Asiago offers another layer of complexity. If you’re blue cheese–averse, use ¾ cup mascarpone cheese instead; it, too, is creamy and has a tanginess without the funkiness of Gorgonzola. The cheesy pasta is sprinkled with panko then briefly broiled to toast the crumbs, so you will need a broiler-safe 12-inch skillet for this recipe.
cup heavy cream
teaspoon dry mustard
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