mac cheese

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you may recall that in addition to working on this blog, I’m also an attorney. It’s not a full-time gig for me; the work I do tends to be cyclical, and I mostly jump in on a temporary basis when things get busy for the firm I work with. I just started back up with them this week, and it’s always a bit of an adjustment to figure out how to balance the job with the blog. I’m going to do my best to keep up with my normal posting schedule here, but if for some reason I can’t and posts seem to be coming a little less frequently, you know why.

mac

As a result of my new schedule, I now get home from work almost 2 hours later than Shane does. Even if I started dinner when I walked in the door, we wouldn’t be eating until close to 8 pm every night, which isn’t ideal. Since he has more time, Shane volunteered to step up and help get dinner on the table. When I did our meal plan for the week, I checked with him to make sure he’d be comfortable preparing the recipes I selected. Though I generally do most of the cooking, Shane’s very competent in the kitchen so I knew he’d be fine!

mac

Of this week’s meals, he was most excited to try this fontina and mascarpone baked pasta, and who could blame him for that? Is there anyone who doesn’t love mac and cheese? It’s one of the very best comfort foods out there, and there are endless variations so you’ll never run out of recipes to try. This was the first time I’ve had the combination of fontina and mascarpone in mac and cheese, and it definitely worked. The dish was rich and creamy and it was finished with a garlicky breadcrumb topping. And can I just tell you how nice it is to come home and find dinner on the table? I could get used to that :)

Fontina and Mascarpone Baked Pasta
adapted from Cooking Light: Cooking through the Seasons

1 pound uncooked penne
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups low-fat milk
2 cups (8 oz) shredded fontina cheese
1/4 cup (2 oz) mascarpone cheese
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 oz panko breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and keep warm.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 13×9 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Combine the flour and milk in a large saucepan set over medium heat. Cook, whisking constantly, for 10-12 minutes, or until the mixture thickens slightly. Remove the pan from the heat and add the cheeses, salt and pepper. Stir until smooth. Add the cooked pasta and toss to coat. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook briefly – just until the garlic is fragrant, about 15-30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat and add the breadcrumbs. Stir to coat.

Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the pasta. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the sauce bubbles around the edges. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.