From “Macaroni & Cheese: Recipes From Simple to Sublime” by Joan Schwartz (Villard, 2001).
- Butter for the pan
- 1 pound penne rigate
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, freshly grated preferred
- 2 cups (8 ounces) grated cheddar cheese
- 11/2 cups (about 5 to 6 ounces) grated Monterey Jack cheese
- Coarse salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
- 2 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9- by 13-inch baking pan.
Bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, 9 to 10 minutes. Drain.
Combine the cream, milk, cayenne and nutmeg in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and reduce by half, about 15 minutes. (Once the mixture starts to simmer, stir to break the layer of foam so that it will not boil over.) Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the cheddar and Jack cheeses, and whisk until well-blended. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the penne and stir vigorously (take care not to break the pasta). This will release starch and help to thicken the sauce.
Pour or spoon the pasta into the prepared baking dish. Combine the panko, parsley and Parmesan and sprinkle over the pasta. Bake until bubbly and golden, about 15 minutes.
25 minutes to make
15 minutes to bake