"Southern hometown food is extraordinary,” says Kelly Alexander, writer of the Southern Living No Taste Like Home cookbook; and the BookPage staff here in Nashville definitely know how right she is. Well-written instructions combined with recipes and local lore from six different Southern regions make this collection a winner, regardless of what state you call home. During these winter months, comfort food is key, and Birmingham chef Shannon Gober's Not Yo' Mama's Mac 'N' Cheese recipe has a decadent, grown-up twist. Not Yo’ Mama’s Mac ’N’ Cheese NotYoMamasMac&Cheese

Makes 8 to 10 servings. Hands-On Time 1 hour. Total Time 1 hour, 20 min.

  • 1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1 (4-oz.) package thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 1 (16-oz.) package penne or cavatappi pasta
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1  shallot, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
  • 2 (10-oz.) blocks sharp white Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded smoked Gouda
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz.) shredded Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Bake breadcrumbs in a single layer on a baking sheet 5 to 7 minutes or until golden, stirring once after 21?2 minutes.

2. Cook prosciutto, in batches, in a lightly greased large skillet over medium heat 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until crisp. Drain on paper towels; crumble.

3. Prepare pasta according to package directions.

4. Meanwhile, melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat; add shallot, and sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Add wine, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of Dutch oven, and cook 1 minute.

5. Gradually whisk in flour until smooth; cook, whisking constantly, 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk and next 4 ingredients; cook, whisking constantly, 12 to 14 minutes or until mixture thickens and begins to bubble. Remove and discard bay leaf.

6. Place 4 cups (16 oz.) Cheddar cheese in a large heatproof bowl; reserve remaining Cheddar cheese for another use. Add Gouda and Parmesan cheeses to bowl.

7. Gradually pour white sauce over cheeses, whisking until cheeses melt and sauce is smooth.

8. Stir in pasta and prosciutto until blended. Pour into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish; sprinkle with breadcrumbs. 9. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until bubbly. Serve immediately.

notastelikehome Note: Don’t use preshredded cheese; it doesn’t melt as smoothly. You can shred the cheese and crisp the prosciutto up to 1 day ahead and chill. You can also toast the breadcrumbs ahead and store them in a zip-top plastic bag.

For No-Bake Mac ’N’ Cheese: Omit breadcrumbs. Prepare recipe as directed in Steps 2 through 6. Stir pasta, prosciutto, and cheeses into white sauce. Serve immediately. — Executive Chef Shannon Gober, John’s City Diner, Birmingham, Alabama.

Excerpted from Southern Living No Taste Like Home by Kelly Alexander. Copyright © 2013 by Kelly Alexander. Excerpted by permission of Oxmoor House, a division of Time Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Read our review of this book.

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