Butter (for serving dish)
1 pound cavatelli pasta
6 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons flour
4 cups milk
2 teaspoons mustard, dry
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Dash Tabasco or other hot sauce
Salt and pepper
2 cups Asiago cheese, grated
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1 1/3 cup Parmesan or Romano cheese, grated
3/4 cup parsley, coarsely chopped
1/3 cups fresh chives, minced
1 cup Ritz crackers, crushed, or breadcrumbs
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease serving dish with butter and set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat and cook the pasta until al dente, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain and cool.
While the water boils and pasta cooks, grate the cheese. Set aside ⅓ cup of the Parmesan or Romano and mix it with the crushed Ritz crackers or breadcrumbs for the topping.
In a saucepan, over moderately low heat, melt 6 tablespoons of butter. Add flour and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Whisk in the milk and raise the heat to high. When the milk begins to simmer, reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened. If the flour/butter mixture sticks to the bottom, leave it there or else you’ll have burned lumps in the sauce. Remove from the heat and add the mustard, cayenne, Worcestershire, Tabasco, and salt and pepper. Add the remaining grated cheese and stir until everything is melted. Add the herbs and pasta and combine well.
Pour into serving dish and sprinkle with the crumb topping. Bake until the crumbs are lightly browned and the sauce is bubbling, about 30 minutes.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.