Mac and Cheese with Leeks and Gorgonzola

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 20 min
  • Prep: 20 min
  • Inactive: 10 min
  • Cook: 50 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
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Ingredients

1 pound penne pasta

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 1 tablespoon

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 leeks, thinly sliced

Bechamel Sauce, recipe follows

1/2 cup Gorgonzola, crumbled

1/4 cup grated Asiago

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves

1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bechamel Sauce:

1/4 cup unsalted butter

1 clove garlic, smashed

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

3 cups milk

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Pinch freshly ground nutmeg

Directions

Special equipment:
9-inch springform pan
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a large pot of boiling salted water cook the pasta until al dente, drain and set aside.
  3. In a skillet over medium heat melt 2 tablespoons of butter and oil and cook the leeks until tender but not browned. In a bowl combine the cooked leeks with the Bechamel Sauce, Gorgonzola, Asiago, thyme, oregano, and parsley. Toss the sauce with the pasta until well coated and season, to taste.
  4. Grease a 9-inch springform pan with the remaining butter. Fill the springform pan with the pasta mixture and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before removing from the pan and slicing.

Bechamel Sauce:

  1. In a heavy bottomed pot over medium heat, melt the butter and saute the garlic for 2 minutes until fragrant, but not brown. Remove the garlic and discard. Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the flour to make a roux, cook for 4 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent scorching.
  2. Heat the milk to just below boiling. Pour 1 cup of milk into the roux, whisking constantly as the sauce thickens. Add the rest of the milk, in 1/2 cup portions, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Simmer the sauce over low heat for 8 minutes, stirring the bottom of the pot with a spatula to prevent burning. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the cheese, kosher salt and nutmeg to finish the sauce.