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Penne With Leeks, Fontina, and Cheddar


Penne With Leeks, Fontina, and Cheddar

Penne With Leeks, Fontina, and Cheddar

Diana Rattray
I like the crunchy crumb topping on this casserole, but you can leave it off if you don't care for a topping. I turned the broiler on for about 1 minute to brown the top a bit more. Plan to start this early in the day or cook the leeks a day in advance.
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  • 2 to 3 large leeks, white and a small part of the light green
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 1/3 cup water or broth
  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 3 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 12 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 8 ounces fontina cheese, shredded
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons grainy spicy mustard
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • ***Topping***
  • 1 cup soft bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley or about 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • paprika


In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat 1 to 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil over medium-low heat (enough to cover bottom of the pan). Add the leeks and cook, stirring, for about 2 to 4 minutes, or until wilted. Add the 1/4 cup of broth or water and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden in color, about 45 to 60 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook penne pasta in boiling salted water following package directions. Drain well and set aside. Heat oven to 350°. Grease a 4-quart baking dish.

Remove the cooked leeks to a plate and set aside. To the saucepan add 3 tablespoons of butter and melt over medium-low heat. Add the flour and stir until well blended. Stir in leeks and milk. Continue cooking, stirring, until thickened. Add the cheeses and mustard; bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks. Whisk in about 1/2 cup of the hot cheese mixture, then stir the egg mixture into the remaining cheese sauce mixture in the saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring constantly.

Taste and season with salt and pepper, as desired. Stir in the drained pasta. Transfer the pasta and sauce to the baking dish.

Toss the bread crumbs with 2 tablespoons of melted butter and parsley. Sprinkle over the penne mixture then sprinkle lightly with paprika.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until browned and bubbly.

Serves 6 to 8.

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