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Hands-on Time
40 Mins
Total Time
1 Hour 20 Mins
Yield
Makes 10 servings
Photo: Jennifer Davick; Prop Styling: Caroline M. Cunningham

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 350°. Bring 1 gal. water and 1 1/2 tsp. salt to a boil in a Dutch oven; add pasta. Cook 8 to 9 minutes or until al dente. Drain; rinse with cold water. Toss with 1 Tbsp. oil.

Step 2

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, and sauté 4 to 5 minutes or until tender. Add flour, and cook, whisking constantly, 1 to 2 minutes or until smooth. (Do not brown flour.) Add half-and-half, next 2 ingredients, and remaining 1 1/2 tsp. sea salt, and bring to a simmer. Cook, whisking constantly, 5 to 6 minutes or until thickened. Gradually add cheeses, stirring until blended. Transfer mixture to a large bowl; stir in cooked pasta. Spoon into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish.

Step 3

Sauté chipotle pepper in remaining 1 Tbsp. hot corn oil in a small skillet over medium heat 30 seconds or until mixture begins to smoke. Remove from heat, and quickly stir in bacon and panko until coated. Sprinkle mixture over pasta.

Step 4

Bake at 350° for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden and crisp on top. Serve immediately.

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