Pasta Wheels and Cheese

Photo: Minh + Wass

Put a new spin on macaroni and cheese with pasta wagon wheels (rotelle). Spoon into little paper cups to serve a crowd.


  • Salt

  • 1 pound rotelle pasta (wagon wheel)

  • 3 cups milk

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • Pinch of cayenne pepper

  • ½ teaspoon Dijon or yellow mustard

  • 2 ½ cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (about 10 ounces), plus 4 tablespoons for topping


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add salt. Add pasta; cook until al dente. Drain well. Transfer to a large bowl.

  2. Heat milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat until hot. Melt butter in a deep skillet over medium heat.When butter begins to foam, add flour; cook, whisking, 1 minute. Gradually whisk in hot milk. Cook, whisking constantly, until mixture starts to bubble and thicken, about 5 minutes.

  3. Remove skillet from heat. Add 1 teaspoon salt, a pinch of black pepper, cayenne, mustard, and cheese; stir until melted.

  4. Stir cheese sauce into the pasta, and serve immediately.

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