Cheese Pasta Gratin
3 tablespoons butter
1 garlic clove, pressed
3 tablespoons flour
4 cups hot whole milk
10 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated (about 3 cups)
8 ounces hot pepper Monterey Jack cheese, grated (about 2-1/2 cups)
1-2/3 cups lightly grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/2 cup whole almonds
1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1 pound macaroni or other short, tube-shaped pasta
Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium
heat. Add garlic; sauté about 1 minute. Add flour; stir 3
minutes. Whisk in hot milk. Bring to a simmer, stirring. Cover partially
and simmer until sauce thickens, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat.
Add cheddar and Jack cheese, 1-1/3 cups
Parmesan cheese and hot pepper sauce. Whisk mixture until smooth.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Generously
butter bottoms and sides of a 9-by-13-inch pan. Blend 1/3 cup Parmesan,
almonds and breadcrumbs in processor or blender until nuts are coarsely
Add 1/2 cup almond mixture to prepared dish.
Make sure mixture coats bottom and sides of dish. Return any loose
almond mixture to processor or blender.
Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted
water until tender. Drain well. Return pasta to pot. Add sauce;
stir to coat.
Transfer to the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle remaining almond
mixture over the top of the dish and bake for 30 minutes.