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.