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This is a fantastic mac and cheese recipe, with grown up flavors...you've got to give it a try. I made it last year for a dinner party, and after a year of people asking for the recipe (It really is that good!) I decided to just put it on Zaar. The recipe comes from the Fall 2007 edition of The Best of Fine Cooking magazine. This serves 8 people as a main course.
- 3 cups whole milk
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 medium onion, finely diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 pinch nutmeg, freshly grated
- 1⁄4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
- fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 5 ounces gruyere cheese, coarsely grated (about 1 3/4 cup, lightly packed)
- 1⁄2 lb blue cheese, crumbled (Maytag blue suggested, about 2 cups)
- 1 lb penne rigate, dried
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest, finely grated
- 11 ounces monterey jack cheese, cut into 1/2 inch dice (about 2 cups)
- 1⁄2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped fresh
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
- 2 1⁄2 ounces parmigiano-reggiano cheese, freshly grated (scant 1 cup)
- 3⁄4 cup fresh breadcrumb
- Heat oven to 350°F.
- Put a large pot of well salted water on to boil.
- Heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium low heat to just below a simmer. Remove from heat and cover to keep hot.
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium low heat.
- add the onion and bay leaf. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion starts to soften, about 5 minutes.
- Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
- Gradually whisk in the hot milk, bring to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes, whisking frequently, until thickened and smooth.
- Season with 1 tsp salt, the nutmeg, tabasco and pepper to taste.
- Remove and discard the bay leaf. Stir in the gruyere and blue cheese.
- Cook the pasta in the boiling water to al dente, following the package directions. Drain well and return to the pot.
- Toss the lemon zest and half of the Monterey Jack cheese into the pasta while it's still hot; add the cheese sauce and quickly toss to combine.
- Stir in the parsley and thyme and transfer half of the pasta to a large 3 qt shallow cassserole or lasagna pan.
- Sprinkle with the remaining Monterey Jack cheese and half of the Parmigiano; top with the remaining pasta.
- Sprinkle with the remaining Parmigiano and the breadcrumbs.
- Bake until bubbling and golden, 50 to 60 minutes.
- Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.