Four-Cheese Baked Pasta

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Four-Cheese Baked Pasta
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 20Servings

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds penne
  • 1 1/2 sticks (6 oz.) butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 6 cups whole milk, warmed
  • 14 ounces freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
  • 8 ounces gorgonzola, crumbled
  • 8 ounces mozzarella, preferably fresh, finely diced
  • 8 ounces fontina, cut into cubes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Preparation

Grease two 9-by-13-inch baking dishes. Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees . In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta, stirring often, until just al dente (it will cook again when its baked). Drain in a large colander, then rinse well with cold water until cool. Divide the pasta between the baking dishes.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, melt 1 stick butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk, about 1 cup at a time, and cook, whisking, until the mixture comes to a boil, about 5 minutes. Cook, whisking, for 1 minute more. Add 1 1/2 cups parmigiano-reggiano and the gorgonzola, mozzarella and fontina; remove from the heat and stir occasionally until the cheeses melt. Season with salt and pepper. Let the sauce cool to room temperature, whisking occasionally.

Divide the sauce between the baking dishes, spooning it evenly over the pasta. In a medium skillet, melt the remaining 4 tbsp. butter. Add the garlic and cook until golden, about 1 minute. Stir in the panko and 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until nicely golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Let the panko cool for 5 minutes; transfer to a small bowl, then stir in the remaining parmigiano-reggiano and the parsley.

Bake the pasta dishes side by side on the oven rack until bubbling around the edges, about 25 minutes. Sprinkle half of the panko topping on each dish and bake for 5 minutes more. Let stand for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.