Every once in a while, we all want to hit the reset button and treat our bodies to a light, cleansing meal that will detoxify our insides and leave us feeling nourished, good, healthy … and probably still hungry.
That time is not now.
Now is the time for pasta.
Now is the time for cheese.
Now is the time for butter.
Brown Butter Cheesy Baked Penne
1 ½ lbs. Whole Wheat Penne (Two 12 oz. Packages)
1 Stick Unsalted Butter
4 Tbs. AP Flour
1 Tsp. Smoked Paprika
1 Tsp. Garlic Powder
½ Tsp. Salt
¼ Tsp. Pepper
1 ½ Cups Whole Milk
2, 8 oz. Packages Monterey Jack Cheese, Shredded
1, 8 oz. Package Fontina Cheese, Shredded
1 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
2 Tbs. Butter
Boil the pasta according to package instructions til just al dente and drain in a colander
Be sure to salt the pasta water
You can start making the cheese sauce while waiting for the water to come to a boil, as it takes forever
Have all of your cheese shredded prior to commencing!
Reserve ¾ Cup of the Monterey Jack Cheese
In a sizeable cast iron skillet or favorite large skillet, melt the butter on medium-high heat
Allow it to start bubbling til it turns a caramel brown color and gives off an almost nutty aroma
Gently sift the flour over the butter and use a whisk to incorporate it into the butter
Lower the heat to medium
Whisk in the salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and garlic powder
Pour in 1 Cup of the milk while whisking
The mixture will immediately thicken
Whisk in the shredded cheese, with the exception of the reserved Monterey Jack
Add the last ½ cup of milk
The cheese sauce will be thick and toffee colored
Turn off the stove and preheat the oven to 350°F
Butter a 9×13 baking pan
Crack the egg into a small bowl and use a fork to scramble it up
Spoon in about half a cup of the cheese sauce and mix together to temper the egg
Pour the pasta into the cheese sauce and combine until each noodle is coated
Fold in the tempered egg
Transfer the pasta from the skillet to the baking pan and spread evenly
Cover with the remaining cheese
Top with the panko bread crumbs and dot the top with 2 Tbs. of Cold butter
Bake for 15-18 minutes
Move to the top rack and broil for a minute or so til the top turns golden
Garnish with fresh parsley
This recipe makes a figurative TON. Leftovers reheat beautifully and leftover leftovers can be snugly wrapped in foil, encased in a freezer-friendly zippy bag, and frozen til the next time cheesy, buttery goodness with a crunchy topping is desired.