Photo by Nicole Sipe
- 3 cups shredded cheddar-jack cheese blend
- 1½ cups shredded six-cheese Italian blend
- 6 T. butter, divided
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp. dried thyme (scant)
- 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
- 4 cups low-fat milk
- 1/2 cup plain or seasoned bread crumbs
- 1 pound penne pasta, cooked
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Mix cheeses in large bowl and set aside.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Add flour and stir until mixture turns golden brown and starts to foam slightly, about 4 minutes. Add thyme, nutmeg and garlic powder. Quickly whisk in milk one cup at a time until well-blended with no lumps. Simmer until thickened, stirring often, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add cheeses and stir until melted and smooth. Remove from heat.
In a separate frying pan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Remove from heat and add bread crumbs, tossing crumbs with fork until coated with butter. Put cooked pasta in large casserole dish. Pour cheese sauce over pasta, and stir until coated. Sprinkle top with buttered crumbs. Bake 10 to 15 minutes, until sauce starts to bubble. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F, and bake 10 to 15 more minutes, until crumbs are golden. Remove from oven and cool 10 to 15 minutes before serving.