Luxurious Four-Cheese Macaroni & CheeseIngredients:Kosher salt3 cups whole milk (I used 2%)4 Tbs. unsalted butter1 medium onion, finely diced (about 1 cup)1 bay leaf1/4 cup all-purpose flourPinch freshly grated nutmeg1/4 tsp. Tabasco sauce; more to tasteFreshly ground black pepper5 oz. Gruyere, coarsely grated (about 1 3/4 cups lightly packed)1/2 lb. blue cheese, crumbled (about 2 cups; use less if not crazy about blue cheese)1 lb. dried penne rigate pasta1 Tbs. finely grated lemon zest11 oz. Monterey Jack, cut into 1/2-inch dice (2 cups - I used a vegetable medley Monterey Jack)1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley2 Tbs. fresh thyme leaves2 1/2 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated (scant 1 cup)3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put a large pot of well-salted water on to boil.
- Heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat to just below a simmer. Remove from heat and cover to keep hot. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and bay leaf. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion starts to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the hot milk, bring to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes, whisking frequently, until thickened and smooth. Season with 1 tsp. salt, the nutmeg, the Tabasco, and pepper to taste. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Stir in the Gruyere and blue cheese.
- Cook the pasta in the boiling water to al dente, following the package directions. Drain well and return to the pot. Toss the lemon zest and half of the Monterey Jack into the pasta while it is still hot; add the cheese sauce and quickly toss to combine. Stir in the parsley and thyme and transfer half of the pasta to a large (3-qt.) shallow casserole or lasagna pan (I used a 13x9 baking dish). Sprinkle with the remaining Monterey Jack and half of the Parmigiano; top with the remaining pasta. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmigiano and the breadcrumbs. Bake until bubbling and golden, 50 to 60 minutes. Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.