Jasmine Baker, Savour Ontario at Home co-curator, is a
Toronto based Event Producer, Recipe Developer, Culinary
Curator and Entertaining Expert.
She has spent her career working at top restaurants, with top
chefs, and producing some of the City’s most notable events.
As the founder of EVNT MGMT, she continues to curate and
produce stunning events, work with top chef talent and create
thoughtful hospitality experiences for a wide range of clients—
Field Trip Music & Arts, Taste of Toronto, WayHome, The Big
Feastival, TIFF and The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, just to
name a few.
Jasmine is an epicurious traveler who is always cultivating lists
of the most authentic dining experiences in every destination.
When she’s not producing a fabulous event or traveling to
some delicious destination, she can often be found playing
with food or hosting friends with her husband Leslie in their
east end Toronto loft.
Fill large, heavy-bottomed pot with well-salted water and bring to a boil. Cook the short pasta 2 –3 minutes less than what is indicated on the package. You want your pasta to be undercooked, as it will continue cooking in the cheese sauce when you bake it in the oven later.
Once the pasta has reached doneness (soft on the outside, raw/hard on the inside) drain and set aside. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water and set aside. Run pasta under cold water to cool and halt the cooking process.
Cheese Sauce Instructions:
Melt 4 tbsp butter in your large heavy-bottomed pot over moderately low heat, then whisk in flour and cook roux, whisking constantly. Your roux should have the colour and consistency of light sand.
Combine all grated cheese in a bowl, mix and set aside.
Add mustard powder to roux and stir. Whisk in milk and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Add bay leaf. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, for about 4 - 5 minutes or until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Remove bay leaf, whisk in cayenne, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Slowly add all cheese, except 1/2 cup for the topping.
Whisk until combined and melted. If the cheese sauce is too thick (stiff and difficult to mix), slowly add some of the reserved pasta water until the sauce loosens to your liking.
Add pasta and mix until all noodles are covered evenly with the cheese sauce.
Bake in preheated oven at 350°F. Sprinkle the remaining cheese and panko crumbs to cover the top of each dish evenly. Melt remaining butter and pour over the panko and cheese topping.
Place in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 10 - 20 minutes or until the topping is golden brown.
Tip: You can make this the day before and store the oven safe bowls in the fridge so they are ready to pop in the oven. Just be sure to REALLY under cook your pasta and allow for 20 – 30 minutes in the oven to ensure it's warmed through.