Baked Four-Cheese Pasta proves that there really isn’t any way to have too much cheese. The combination of cheddar, asiago, and fontina creates a creamy, rich sauce that is equal parts nutty, savory, and sharp. Add in parmesan in the crunchy breadcrumb layers and Baked Four-Cheese Pasta becomes a transcendently delicious experience. This is perfect as either a main course or as a side to a citrus-infused chicken.
Ingredients• 12 tablespoons butter, separated • 1 pound penne pasta • 4 cups whole milk • 6 tablespoons flour • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated • 2 cups asiago cheese, grated • 2 cups fontina cheese, grated • 1 cup plain breadcrumbs • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated • 1 cup heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter a 9x13-inch baking dish with 2 tablespoons of the butter.
Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil on the stovetop.
Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 10-12 minutes depending on package directions.
Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
Place the pasta in a large bowl and set it aside.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk to a boil and, once boiling, immediately remove it from the heat.
In another medium saucepan, melt 8 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat.
Once the butter has melted, lower the heat to low.
Whisk the butter into the flour, cooking for 3-4 minutes, being careful not to brown the mixture.
Slowly add the hot milk to the flour mixture, whisking constantly.
Add the salt and cayenne, increasing the heat to medium.
Simmer the mixture, stirring constantly, until the mixture has thickened, about 8-10 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and add 1 cup each of the grated cheddar, asiago, and fontina cheeses, whisking until the cheeses are melted.
Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta and toss to coat evenly.
Place half of the coated pasta in the buttered baking dish.
Evenly sprinkle the remaining cheddar and fontina cheeses over the top.
Cover with the remaining pasta.
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the microwave.
In a small mixing bowl, toss the breadcrumbs, remaining 1 cup of the asiago cheese, the parmesan cheese, and the 2 tablespoons of melted butter together.
Pour the heavy cream over the pasta.
Evenly distribute the breadcrumb mixture over the top of the pasta.
Bake on the middle oven rack until the top is light brown and the mixture is bubbling, about 30-35 minutes.