Altschul Recipe Database: Four Cheese Pasta Casserole

Recipe: Four Cheese Pasta Casserole
This is a Entree Dish.
Full Recipe: Cooks Illustrated free issue (p. 12)
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Shopping List:
white bread
pecorino romano
For the filling:
4 oz. fontina cheese, shredded (about 1 c.)
4 oz. gorgonzola cheese, crumbled (about 1 c.)
1 oz. pecorino romano cheese, grated (about 1/2 c.)
1/2 oz. parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/4 c.)
1 lb. penne
1 tbsp. plus 1/4 tsp. salt, separated
2 tsp. unsalted butter
2 tsp. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

For the topping:
3-4 slices white bread with crusts
1/2 oz. parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/4 c.)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

For the crust, tear the bread into quarters and place in food processor. Pulse about 1 second, ten times. Mix with other ingredients.

Place oven rack in middle position and heat oven to 500 degrees. Combine cheeses in large bowl. Bring 4 cups water to a boil and add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt.

While pasta cooks, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour until no lumps remain (about 30 seconds). Gradually whisk in cream, increase heat to medium and bring to boil, whisking occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer to cook flour (about 1 minute). Stir in remaining salt and pepper. Remove from heat and cover to keep sauce warm.

Remove pasta when it is still very al dente (opaque and slightly underdone at center). Drain about 5 seconds, leaving penne still still wet. Add to bowl with cheese and pour over sauce. Cover bowl and let stand 3 minutes. Uncover bowl and stir cheese, pasta, and sauce together with a rubber spatula. (Scrape bottom of bowl and ensure cheese is melted and mixture is completely blended.)

Pour into 9x13 casserole dish. Sprinkle with bread crumbs, pressing down lightly. Bake about 7 minutes, until topping is golden brown. Serve immediately.