Three Cheese Macaroni

Baked Three-Cheese Macaroni with Olive-Bread Topping

8 ounces dried pasta (corkscrew or any tubular shape)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, peeled and sliced thin
4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
6 ounces fresh goat cheese
6 ounces Manchego (Spanish sheep’s milk) cheese, grated
4 ounces Asiago cheese, grated
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Zest of 1/2 lemon, finely minced
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
8 to 10 dry-cured (Moroccan) olives, pitted and sliced

Cook pasta for 3 minutes less than directed on package. (It will finish cooking in the oven.) Drain, rinse with cold water, drain again and set aside.

For the sauce, heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until very soft and brown. Add garlic and cook until garlic is soft. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.

Heat butter in a saucepot over medium-high heat. Whisk in flour. Stir and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in milk and cream. Cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add cheeses and stir until completely melted. Add onion-garlic mixture and thyme; mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

For the topping, toss bread crumbs with remaining ingredients; mix well.

Combine cooked pasta with sauce; mix well. Pour into greased 2-quart casserole or baking dish. Top with crumb mixture. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly. Let cool 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

From chef Chrysa Kaufman of Rancho Pinot Grill and Nonni’s Kitchen

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