Penne Rigate Macaroni and Cheeses

The Penne dish was scheduled for Monday and it feels good to have accomplished sticking to my schedule.  Tuesday is also as planned.

I made many changes to this dish.  The most obvious one is that I used gluten-free penne.  I also had to substitute some of the cheese, using Pizza flavored cheese for the Muenster and using yellow Cheddar in place of white.  I could not use bread crumbs so I used processed Rice Chex, an idea I got from another gluten-free cook.

I was fortunate to find this recipe online.  I was prepared to type it out, from my book, Not Your Mother’s Weeknight Cooking.

Penne Rigate Macaroni and Cheeses   (adapted)


  • 3/4 pound penne rigate or mostaccioli
  • 1 2/3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1  cups milk
  • 1  cups half-and-half (can be reduced-fat)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 ounces pizza flavored cheese, diced
  • 4 ounces cheddar, diced
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, diced
  • 1 16 ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1  egg beater or 2 egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup ground Rice Crispies or bread crumbs


  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions, taking care not to overcook because it will cook more in the oven. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of the milk.
  4. In a deep saucepan, whisk together the remaining 1 cup and 2 tablespoons milk, the half-and-half, and 2 tablespoons olive oil and bring to a low boil. Add the cornstarch mixture and whisk constantly over medium heat until thickened.
  5. Lower the heat to the lowest setting and add the cheeses, one at a time, and leave on the lowest heat to melt slowly, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Remove from the heat and add the egg yolks one at a time, stirring constantly.
  6. Place the cooked pasta in a 2 1/2- to 3-quart baking dish or oversized gratin dish. Place one-third of the pasta in the dish, then pour over one-third of the sauce. Make two more layers, then top with the crumbs and dot with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  7. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until browned and bubbling around the edges. Serve immediately.
 “Excerpted from Not Your Mother’s Weeknight Cooking, by Beth Hensperger, © 2008, and used by permission of The Harvard Common Press.”

This is linked to Daily Organized Chaos
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