Rigatoni, Five Cheeses in Parchment

Click here to download a printable PDF file of this recipe. SERVES 6

Cooking food in parchment paper allows the flavors to be absorbed one into another while keeping ingredients moist. You’ll find versions of pasta cooked in parchment all over Italy, from Palermo up to Milan.

This is my fancy version of macaroni and cheese. There’s a special surprise awaiting the diner when the packet is opened.

4 cups whole milk
1 pound good-quality rigatoni
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup cubed fontina cheese
¾ cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
¾ cup coarsely chopped
Parmesan cheese
¾ cup cubed Montasio cheese
1/3 pound goat’s milk cheese (see recipe below)
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1⁄8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Six 24 by 13-inch sheets parchment paper

1. Scald the milk in a nonreactive saucepan over medium heat. Turn off the heat.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the rigatoni to the boiling water and cook for 6 minutes. Drain and reserve in a colander.

3. MAKE A BÉCHAMEL SAUCE: Add the butter to another nonreactive saucepan over high heat and brown. Add the flour, stirring continuously until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Add ½ cup of the already warmed milk to the flour mixture and stir to combine. Add everything back into the rest of the warm milk. Lower the heat to medium. Continue to stir until the sauce is as thick as sour cream, about 5 minutes.

4. Add the fontina, Gorgonzola, Parmesan, Montasio, and goat’s milk cheeses to the béchamel. Use a whisk to thoroughly combine. It’s important to stay with the sauce, continually whisking in order to achieve a thick, smooth finish—and so it won’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Add the salt and pepper.

5. Return the rigatoni to the pasta pot or place it in a large mixing bowl. Strain the cheese sauce through a sieve onto the pasta. Stir to combine. Let cool.

6. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Fold each piece of parchment in half. Divide the rigatoni into 6 equal portions and place in the center of the parchment. Fold the tops of the paper over the bottoms and twist the ends to seal. Place the bundles on a baking sheet with sides. Bake until the parchment turns pale brown and you can almost see the pasta turn brownish gold through the paper, about 45 minutes.

7. Serve immediately.

Please see page three for the Goat's Milk Cheese recipe