This is a recipe I usually end up making this time of year, so maybe it will be handy for you as well. It appeared in a magazine called Recipes Only a long time ago – I clipped it out and still use it. I think it was in an interview with some women who ran a restaurant – which might have been the Columbus Street Bakery in NYC. I could be remembering incorrectly, but it’s a terrific recipe either way.
You can think of it as:
• upscale mac-and-cheese
• pasta with four cheeses in a more server-friendly form (see below)
• white lasagna
It’s great for entertaining – it’s easy to make up, then just minds its own business as it cooks. It also can be “held” for a while – I’ve put foil over top of it, turned off the oven, and let it sit for up to an hour before serving. The top gets a little less crunchy but no one has yet complained. You can pop a leftover slice under the broiler the next day and reheat it easily.
I’ve also made this with a layer of spinach between the pasta and the cheese on the bottom three layers. It’s pretty yummy either way. I like to serve it with something tart, like a tomato salad. I’ve also made it for my mom as a side dish when she serves hot ham with a green veg.
Ruffled Cheese Torte
1 lb ruffled lasagne
5 tbsp butter
1/4 lb (125g) thinly sliced Gruyere cheese
1/4 lb thinly sliced Fontina cheese
1/4 lb thinly sliced (or shredded) Mozzarella cheese
1/4 lb freshly grated Parmesan cheese
4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour
3 cups milk
salt and pepper
freshly grated nutmeg (I’ve never used the nutmeg. If you do, let me know what you think!)
Cook lasagna until al dente. Drain and coat with butter. Place in a deep, buttered pan (10 x 13″), alternating a layer of pasta and a layer of cheese. Use one cheese on each layer: first the Gruyere, then the Fontina, then the Mozzarella. The Parmesan goes on top.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Make a thin white sauce by melting butter and stirring in the flour to make a roux. Cook for two minutes, then gradually add the milk. (I use a whisk until the milk is added and the sauce is smooth.) Stir until thickened and season. Pour the sauce over the layered lasagna. Bake until the cheeses have melted and the top is golden – about 25 minutes.
The recipe says it serves 6. This seems incredibly generous, but it is amazing to watch this stuff disappear.