One pound box of Cavatappi pasta, or large elbow macaroni
3 cups (about 12 oz) grated Gruyère cheese (or do half Gruyère & half white cheddar)
3 cups half and half
4 large egg yolks
1 tsp dried red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 TBS butter, melted, plus more to spread on foil
Dried or fresh parsley to sprinkle on top, if desired
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat and cook pasta according to package directions.
Drain and rinse pasta with cool water. Drain again and toss with 2 2/3 cups Gruyère. Salt the pasta, to taste, if you like, or allow each person at the table when you serve the final dish to salt their own portion.
In a small bowl, whisk together half-and-half, egg yolks, red pepper flakes, and 3 tablespoons melted butter.
Pour over pasta and stir to combine. Transfer to a 1 1/2-quart baking dish.
Cover with buttered aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven, uncover, sprinkle with remaining 1/3 cup Gruyère, and bake until top is golden, 20 to 25 more minutes.
(NOTE: the red pepper flakes will impart a bit of spicy heat to the dish, so if you don't want that, they may be omitted. Also, the suggested combination of white cheddar with the gruyere will be a bit more economical for you. )