Caribbean Macaroni Pie

3 packages (16 ounces each) uncooked ziti pasta
8 cups extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 cups Parmesan cheese, shredded
2 cups smoked Gouda cheese, shredded
1 cup butter, softened
4 cups whole milk
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup yellow mustard
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves removed and chopped
1 tablespoon coarsely ground pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1 to 2 tablespoons Bajan hot pepper sauce

Step 1: Cook the pasta
Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large stockpot, cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain the pasta and put it back in the pot.

Step 2: Add the other ingredients
Combine the three shredded cheeses, setting aside four cups of cheese for the topping.

Over low heat, stir the cheeses and remaining ingredients (butter, milk, ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, onion, garlic, thyme, ground pepper, salt and hot pepper sauce) into the pasta until everything is well combined and the cheese begins to melt.

Editor’s Tip: The dish should be a “yellowish-orangish” color. Add the mustard a little at a time, tasting as you go, because you don’t want it too mustardy.

Step 3: Bake
Transfer the mixture to two greased 13×9-inch baking dishes. Sprinkle with the reserved cheese.

Bake the macaroni pie, uncovered, at 350° for 45 to 50 minutes, until it’s golden brown and the cheese is melted. Let it stand for 5 minutes before serving.