Monday, September 24, 2012

Baked Four Cheese Penne Pasta

When my husband asked what the four cheeses were for this dish, I said, "sharp cheddar, mas-car-pony, er, mascapon, uh, marscapone.  You know that one that starts with an m.  And gruyear, uh, guyerre, er, gorilla, or something like that.  And fonti.... here is the recipe.  I can't pronounce these crazy cheeses, but I'm sure it'll be delicious!"  And, it was.  Despite the fact that I could have bought two filet mignon steaks for the same price as these four cheese, I loved it!  The flavor of the cheese sauce was incredible.  I loved the crunchy Panko topping, and the melty, gooey, goodness all over the pasta.  I can't make this too often since the cheese will cost you your first born, but it is amazing.

Baked Four Cheese Penne Pasta

1 pound penne (or whatever pasta you like)
1 shallot, minced (I used an 1/4 of an onion)
2 garlic cloves, minced
5 T butter
1/4 c flour
2 c milk
1/3 c mascarpone cheese
8 oz. freshly grated Gruyere cheese
8 oz. freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
8 oz. freshly grated fontina cheese
1/4 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1/4 t nutmeg
1/3 c Panko breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  

Grate the cheese into a bowl and set aside.  Prepare a pot of water to boil the pasta according to package directions, stopping 3-4 minutes before 'al dente.' Drain 

Heat a skillet to medium-high heat with the butter.  Once hot, add the shallot (or onion). Saute the onion for a couple minutes.  Add the garlic and saute another minute.  

Add flour and whisk for a couple minutes to create a thick paste.  Add the milk a little at a time and whisk to combine.  Cook for a couple minute until it thickens.  Add in the mascarpone and all but 1/2 c of the grated cheeses.  Stir for 3-4 minutes until the cheese melts.  Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  

Add the drained pasta to the sauce.  Pour into a oven-safe dish.  Top with the remaining cheese and panko breadcrumbs.  You could use regular bread crumbs, but Panko is so much better!

Bake for 30-35 minutes. It should be slightly browned on top and bubbly.

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