Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Today's What Cooking Wednesday is one of my favorite dishes to make.
I adapted my mom’s (she used cheddar cheese) and a recipe from THE NEW BASIC COOKBOOK. This is an excellent overall cookbook. It’s very user friendly.
I don’t have exact measurements for some of the added ingredients so use as much or little as you’d like.
You can use different types of cheeses if you can’t find Gruyère. Just make sure they melt well. I used Swiss. The better the quality of your cheese, the better the dish will be.
1 pound ditalini or another small tube-shaped pasta
1 small onion
4 cups milk
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
6 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
dash of nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
12 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated 4 cups.
Cook the pasta until just tender. Drain, rinse under cold water, drain again and set aside in a large bowl.
While pasta is cooking, saute the onions until soft, set aside.
Saute the pancetta until slightly brown, set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350.
Bring the milk just to a boil in a heavy saucepan and set aside.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in another heavy saucepan. Add the flour and whisk over low heat for 5 minutes. Do not brown. Remove from the heat.
Add the hot milk to the flour mixture and whisk well. Add the nutmeg, season with salt and pepper, and return the pan to the heat. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thicken, 5 minutes. Add to the pasta and toss well to coat completely.
Butter a 13 x 9 x 2-inch flameproof baking dish, and fill it evenly with the pasta and sauce.
Distribute the grated cheese evenly over the pasta, and sprinkle with black pepper.
Place the dish on a baking sheet, and bake until hot, 20 to 25 minutes.
Place the dish under the broiler, 4 inches from the heat, until the top is slightly golden and bubbling 3 to 4 minutes. Serve immediately. (the leftovers the next day taste even better)