Sauce of the Day: Made-Over Macaroni and Cheese

in Pasta

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Today’s Sauce of the Day technically is not just a sauce, it’s an entire dish. It is a modified version of a cheesy pasta dish I saw Giada de Laurentiis make once on Everyday Italian.

The Fontina is typically the “pricey” portion of the dish and is a cheese I typically don’t have on hand. Any 2-cups of soft cheeses will do. I have substituted the Fontina with a variety of combinations of swiss, cheddar, and mozzarella.

Butter, for greasing dish
16 ounces penne pasta
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk (can substitute lower-fat milk)
1 1/2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for pasta water
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups grated Fontina
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
3/4 cup grated mozzarella

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Butter a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish and set aside. Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water for about 5 minutes. Drain well, but do not rinse.

Whisk the milk and flour together. In a large bowl, mix the cream, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper in large bowl to blend and pour into a large sauce pan over medium heat. When heated, whisk in the milk/flour mixture.

Stir in 1 cup Fontina, 1/2 cup Parmesan, 1/2 cup mozzarella, and parsley. Heat until cheese is mostly melted, stirring frequently.

Add the noodles to the baking dish. Pour the cheese sauce over the noodles and toss to coat.

Toss the remaining 1 cup Fontina, 1/4 cup Parmesan, and 1/4 cup mozzarella in a small bowl to blend and sprinkle over the noodle mixture.

Bake until the sauce bubbles and the cheese melts and begins to brown on top, about 20 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

This dish is a very filling dish, but should you want some variety, you can stir in 4-6 oz of any combination of “toss-ins” (chopped ham, prosciutto, chicken, asparagus, etc) when you add the cheese to the sauce pan.

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