Baked Penne with Farmhouse Cheddar and Leeks
- 1 pound penne
- 4 tablespoons (¬Ĺ stick) unsalted butter, plus more for¬†the baking dish
- 4 large leeks, white and pale green parts only, well¬†rinsed, drained, and chopped (5 cups)
- ¬ľ cup flour
- 3¬Ĺ cups whole milk, heated
- 4 cups (1 pound) shredded extra-sharp white¬†Cheddar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ¬Ĺ teaspoon hot red pepper sauce
- 2 large eggs
Leeks lift this macaroni and cheese out of the¬†ordinary.
- Preheat the oven to 400¬įF. Lightly butter a 15 x¬†10-inch baking dish.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over¬†high heat. Add the penne and cook, stirring¬†occasionally, until barely tender (remember the¬†pasta will be baked), about 8 minutes. Drain well.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large saucepan¬†over medium heat. Add the leeks and cover.¬†Cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are¬†tender but not browned, about 10 minutes.¬†Uncover and stir in the flour. Whisk in the milk.¬†Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring often.¬†Remove from the heat. Stir in the Cheddar,¬†mustard, and red pepper sauce. Season with salt¬†and additional red pepper sauce to taste.
- Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl. Gradually¬†whisk in about 1 cup of the hot cheese sauce, then¬†stir the egg and cheese mixture back into the¬†saucepan. Add the penne to the sauce and stir¬†well. Spread in the baking dish.
- Bake, uncovered, until the sauce is bubbling and¬†the ends of the penne are tinged with brown, about¬†25 minutes. Serve hot.