Tested and Perfected by Food and Wine

Three-Cheese Baked Pasta

  • ACTIVE: 20 MIN
  • TOTAL TIME: 45 MIN
  • SERVINGS: 8
  • MAKE-AHEAD
  • VEGETARIAN

Penne pasta nicely absorbs this incredibly rich three-cheese sauce. As an alternative, look for dried garganelli pasta; it's more difficult to find and slightly thinner than penne but it soaks up less sauce, creating a creamier dish.

  1. 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  2. 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  3. 3 cups whole milk
  4. One 10 1/2-ounce log fresh goat cheese
  5. 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (3 ounces)
  6. 2 teaspoons salt
  7. 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  8. 1 pound dried penne or garganelli
  9. 1/2 pound Taleggio cheese, rind removed, cheese cut into 1-inch pieces
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the flour until smooth and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until pale brown, about 4 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk until smooth and bubbling. Cook over moderately low heat, whisking often, until very thick, about 10 minutes. Stir in the goat cheese, Parmesan, salt and nutmeg.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the penne until al dente. Drain the penne and return it to the pot. Stir the cheese sauce into the pasta. Mound the penne in eight 2-cup ovenproof dishes or spoon into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Tuck the Taleggio into the pasta and scatter a few pieces of the cheese on top. Bake the pasta for about 25 minutes, or until heated through and nicely browned on top. Serve right away.

Suggested Pairing

Cheese needs a wine with structure; a three-cheese sauce needs a wine with lots of structure (meaning tannins and acidity). Pour a substantial Tuscan red with this hearty baked pasta dish, like an earthy Chianti Classico.