Baked Trenne with Goat Cheese

This is a very simple ‘mac & cheese’ but extra special because of the pasta and the goat cheese. My pasta of choice is a Trenne from Rustichella d’Abruzzo. Trenne because it’s a large, triangular pasta that holds more of the rich sauce, and Rustichella, excellent and available online and in stores that carry Italian specialty. This is a basic dish that you truly can play with a lot—more sauce/less sauce, richer/less rich but the essentials are the pasta and the goat cheese.

1 lb. really good trenne, penne, or ziti pasta

2 c. milk or (or 1 c. milk and 1 c. cream)

4 oz. butter

8 oz. Capriole fresh goat cheese, loosely crumbled

3/4 c. freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

3/4 c. grated cheddar or alpine cheese of choice

Salt & freshly ground Pepper

Preheat oven to 350º and oil/butter a 9 x 13 baking dish.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add pasta, stirring frequently for the first few minutes to prevent clumping.

Meanwhile bring milk or milk/cream to a simmer in a saucepan. Add butter, stirring till melted. Gradually add the grated cheeses and stir till smooth, reserving about 1/2 cup to sprinkle on top the casserole.

Stir in the loosely crumbled goat cheese, leaving a few small lumps in the sauce.

Cook the pasta until al dente, a little underdone as it will continue to cook in the oven. Drain, return pasta to its cooking pot, and gently stir in the cheese sauce.

Salt and Pepper to taste.

Transfer to the baking dish and top with remaining grated cheeses. Bake in the preheated oven until the casserole is bubbly and the surface is lightly browned, about 30 minutes. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.