You can make the parsnip mash ahead of time. Store mash, sealed in the refrigerator, for up to three days.
3 large parsnips, trimmed and peeled
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, divided
1 pound macaroni or cavatappi
12 tablespoons butter, divided, plus more for buttering the baking dish
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk, room temperature
3 cups grated sharp cheddar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Chop parsnips into 1/2 inch chunks. Set in an oven-proof baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon sea salt. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes, or until parsnips are soft enough to be mashed with a fork. Set aside to cool, and then use a fork to mash parsnips (no need to worry about smoothness). You should have about 1 cup of parsnip mash.
Continue to heat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a deep 9 x 13 inch baking dish and set aside.
Fill a large stock pot with water and bring to a boil. Add 2 teaspoons sea salt and the pasta. Cook to al dente, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Heat the same large stock pot over medium heat. Add 10 tablespoons butter and stir until melted. Whisk in flour. Mixture will be very thick. Next, drizzle in milk slowly, whisking continuously to combine. Once milk has been added, add prepared parsnip mash, and then stir milk mixture over medium heat until thick and creamy, about three minutes. Off the heat, and stir in grated cheddar and the cooked pasta.
Spoon cheesy pasta out into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with pepper. Slide into the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine panko, Asiago, and 2 tablespoons butter in a small bowl. Use your fingers to mix butter into the breadcrumbs and cheese.
After 30 minutes, remove baking dish from oven, sprinkle with panko mixture, and slide back into oven to bake for 15 minutes longer. Mac and cheese will be bubbling and lightly browned on top.
Cool for 10 minutes, slices, and serve.
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