CLASSIC pasta penne (or macaroni) with four cheeses (fancy!)








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Here is a not so simple -- but elegant and tasty  baked pasta dish -- pasta and four cheeses, topped with a Panko-Parmesan crust.

For an alternative, this dish opts for penne as its base, but substitutes according to individual tastes are always acceptable.

for the sauce:

  • one-half cup of grated parmesan
  • six tablespoons butter
  • three-quarter cup dried breadcrumbs, panko is the best
  • one-half cup finely grated Parmesan
  • one-quarter cup flour
  • three cups milk
  • four ounces of Gruyere, grated
  • four ounces of Fontina (Italian Val d'Aosta)
  • four ounces of Comte or Cantal or similar
  • three tablespoons of butter

for the pasta:

  • twelve ounces penne or other hollow pasta pound maccheroni

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Bring 4-5 quarts of cold water to a raging boil. Add a couple tablespoons of salt. Add the pasta, stirring it well to get it separated and mixed. Cook to barely al dente. When the pasta is properly done, drain it.

Melt three tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add the bread crumbs and Parmesan; toss to combine; and transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

Melt the last  three tablespoons of butter in the saucepan. Whisk in the flour until smooth. Whisk in the milk and cook, on low, continuing to whisk, for about ten minutes. Stir in the gruyere, one cup of the Conte, and one cup of the Fontina. Whisk until the cheese is melted and thoroughly incorporated. Add salt and pepper to taste, and stir. Take off heat, add pasta, and stir.

In a  9 inch by 13 inch baking dish, pour in the pasta and cheese mixture, and level. Top with the remaining Comte and Fontina. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the top.

Bake in the oven until golden brown and bubbly, probably twenty minutes or more. Let cool for ten minutes before serving.



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