Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Penne au Gratin

This recipe is from the book, An American fest, foreword by Julia Child. A Celebration of Cooking on Public Television. The recipe is on page 65 under first course or side dishes and the author of recipe is Jacques Pepin.

Ingredients
  • 6 ounces of penne pasta. I use a smaller pasta that is easier for the kids to eat, like salad noodles or seashells.
  • 1 1/2 t of unsalted butter
  • 1 T virgin olive oil
  • 2 T Flour
  • 2 1/2 Cups of Milk
  • 4 1/2 ounces of Cheddar cheese, cut into 1/2 inch dice (1 cup). I use Colby/Cheddar shredded cheese mix and I use about 2 cups....we like it cheesy.
  • 3/4 t salt....I add a little more
  • 3/4 fresh ground black pepper. We omit, we don't care for black pepper
  • 1 large tomato (8 ounces), halved, seeded, and the flesh cut into 1/2 inch dice, (1 1/4 cups). Tim and the kids don't care for tomatoes so I leave it out.
  • 1 1/2 T grated Parmesan cheese. I use shredded because that is what I have on hand.
  • 1/2 t paprika

Cook Pasta

Boil water in a pot, and add noodles, boil past over medium heat, uncovered for about 8 minutes. (The pasta should be al dente, firm to the bite.)
Drain pasta in colander, rinse it under cold water until cool, and set aside.

Make Sauce

  • Heat butter & oil in a saucepan, and add flour.
  • Cook mix over medium heat for about 10 seconds
  • Add milk & stir it in quickly with a whisk so it won't scorch.
  • Bring it to a boil & boil for 10 seconds
  • Add cheese, salt, & pepper, & mix well.
  • Then cook over low heat for 3 to 4 minutes & set aside.
Combine & Bake

When ready to finish the gratin, pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix the pasta with cheese sauce and transfer to a 6 cup gratin dish. I use a square Pyrex dish or a 10 1/2 x 8 3/4 inch dish, or a 9 x 13 Pyrex dish.

Sprinkle tomato on top of mixture.
Combine Parmesan & paprika in a small bowl and sprinkle over whole dish.

Bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees, until bubbly and nicely browned on top.
Serve immediately.

note:
If making the gratin at the last moment, and assembling is while the sauce & pasta are both hot, do not bake the gratin. Instead, place it under a hot broiler until golden brown on top.


Its really good and it is even better the next day.

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