Creamy Four-Cheese Penne Rigate

Can there ever be too many mac and cheeses?

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Serves: Serves 6 as a main dish

Creamy Four Cheese Penne Prigate by Katie Workman/ themom100.com

Damn, if this wasn’t one fine mac and cheese. I make macaroni and cheese in the colder months about twice a month, and that’s not even close to enough for my family.  This one was ultra velvety and lush thanks to a blend of mascarpone (Italian-style cream cheese), cheddar, manchego, and creamy goat cheese.  As with pretty much any macaroni and cheese recipe, the cheeses listed here are but a suggestion.  However, in this particular case Charlie asked me to write down the precise cheeses I used, so I would be able to replicate this exact version (macaroni and cheeses are more like snowflakes in our house, no two alike).

You can definitely double this (which is what I did), as arriving at a friend’s house with a vat of creamy cheesy pasta ready to pop in the oven, or a freezer for a meal later in the month, is a sure way to spread a bit of happiness.

Creamy Four Cheese Penne Rigate with scoop out from Ktie Workman/ themom100.com
Because the combination of cheese and pasta is just perfect:
Macaroni and Cheese
One Skillet (Carroty) Mac and Cheese
Spinach Goat Cheese Baked Pasta with Sunflower Seeds
One Skillet Cheesy Beef and Macaroni
Creamy Goat Cheese and Spinach Linguine
Pasta with Ramps, Edamame, and Peas in Parmesan Cream Sauce


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups 2% or whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 (8-ounce) container mascarpone
  • 1 container creamy goat cheese, or 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Manchego cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 pound penne rigate
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. and butter a 2-quart shallow baking dish, or spray with nonstick cooking spray. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

2. For the sauce, in a large heavy saucepan melt the butter over medium heat and whisk in the flour. Cook, stirring for about 4 minutes, until blond in color, and gradually whisk in the milk. Turn the heat up to medium high and bring the sauce to simmer, whisking frequently, lower the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 5 minutes until the sauce starts to thicken. Stir in the mustard, mascarpone, creamy goat cheese, cheddar and Manchego cheese until everything is melted and smooth.

3. Meanwhile, add the pasta to the boiling water, cooking until barely al dente (follow package directions, but stop a minute or two before the penne is fully cooked). Before you drain the pasta, scoop out 3/4 cup of the cooking water and whisk it into the sauce. Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper as desired.

4. Add the drained pasta to the sauce and stir to combine. Turn the mixture into the baking dish.  There will be a generous amount of sauce, much of which will absorb into the pasta as it finishes cooking in the oven.

5. Bake for about 30 minutes, until golden and bubbling.  Let sit for a few minutes before serving.

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