Friday, June 18, 2010

Baked Penne with Farmhouse Cheddar and Leeks

Penne Chedder Leeks in pan CU

I'm a leek lover.

Most of you guys know that. I love it when leeks are the ingredient in a recipe. As I scan the ingredient list, I actually will say out loud "oh yeah, leeks!"

Imagine my delight when I see a recipe with leeks in the title! Now add the word cheddar and penne. Oh Lordy stop me now.

Penne Chedder Leeks in plate CU

Use a good cheddar when you make this. I just sounded like Ina, but it's true. You want a nice sharp cheddar. I picked mine up at Trader Joes.

I served this with a big salad. It was perfect. The right blend of cheesiness and creaminess from the leeks, and I love how the ends crisp up and get all crunchy. My favorite part!

Baked Penne with Farmhouse Cheddar and Leeks
adapted from a recipe from Bon Appetit
¼ cup butter (½ stick)
5 cups chopped leeks (white and pale green parts only, about 5 large leeks)
¼ cup all purpose flour
3 ½ cups whole milk
1 pound extra sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (about 4 cups packed)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
2 large eggs
1 pound penne pasta

Lightly butter a 15x10x2 inch-baking dish. Melt ¼ cup butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks, stir to coat. Cover the saucepan and cook until the leeks are tender, stirring occasionally (about 12 minutes). Do not let them brown. Uncover the saucepan and add the flour. Stir for 2 minutes. Add the milk. Bring it to a simmer, stirring often. Add the cheese, mustard and pepper sauce. Stir until the cheese melts. Remove from the heat. Season with salt to taste.

Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in 1 cup of the cheese sauce. Stir egg mixture into the cheese sauce in a saucepan.

Meanwhile cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain and return to pot.

Stir cheese sauce into the pasta in the pot. Transfer to a prepared baking dish.

Preheat the oven to 400. Bake until cheese is bubbling around the edges and some of the pasta is golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.

Let stand 15 minutes. Serve hot.

Penne Chedder Leeks in pan
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