Baked Penne with Three Cheeses

I don't believe in serving kids macaroni and cheese every day. It should be treated as an indulgence, because that's what it is. This is my version of the classic macaroni and cheese Xea's grandmother makes. Older kids can easily make this by themselves. Add a big green salad and they can have dinner ready before you get home from work!
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr
  • Active: 20 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Ingredients

Kosher salt

1 pound penne rigate pasta

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

3 cups heavy cream

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 tablespoon seasoned salt, such as Lawry's

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 pound shredded whole-milk mozzarella cheese

1/2 pound shredded Cheddar cheese

1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs (preferably panko)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Prepare the penne rigate according to the package directions, minus 1 or 2 minutes of cooking time (see Cook's Note). Drain, then pour the pasta into a 9-by-13-inch glass baking pan.
  3. In a 4-quart saucepan, melt the butter on medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour until it's dissolved. Add the cream to the saucepan. Add the nutmeg, seasoned salt, and black pepper and whisk the mixture until it's warmed through.
  4. Reduce the heat to low, and add the mozzarella, Cheddar, and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Stir until you have a smooth cheese sauce.
  5. Pour the sauce over the pasta and top with the breadcrumbs.
  6. Bake for about 40 minutes, until the top turns a golden brown.

Cook’s Note

When you're boiling pasta that you're preparing to bake (as in a ziti, lasagna, or macaroni and cheese dish), cook it a minute or two less than directed. It will finish cooking in the oven.

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