- 3/4 pound pasta, penne or campanelle or anything you like
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups milk (2% or whole)
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- about 8 oz kale or Swiss chard, stems removed
- 1 1/2 cups (4 ounces) Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
- a scant cup (6 oz) fontina or fresh mozzarella, diced into small cubes
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a tablespoon of kosher salt. Boil pasta for 2 minutes less than the box's suggested al dente time. (For example, my campanelle box said 'al dente perfection' in 10 to 11 minutes. I boiled mine for 8.) Drain. Do not rinse. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat in a medium saucepan. Add flour, whisking constantly for about a minute. Add milk and water, whisking to remove any of the flour-butter mixture from bottom of pan. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and gently simmer. Add 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until mixture begins to thicken, about 20 minutes. Note: the mixture will not get super thick, but it will coat the back of a spoon, and if you run your finger through the coating, the trail should stay — see photo. Remove from the heat.
- Meanwhile, chop the kale or chard into small pieces. In a large mixing bowl, toss pasta with bechamel and grated Parmigiano Reggiano. Fold in chopped kale.
- Line a jelly roll pan with a sheet of parchment paper. Spread macaroni mixture over top. Distribute mozzarella or fontina cubes over top.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, checking after 10 minutes or so. (Note: If it looks too brown after 10-15 minutes, reduce oven to 400ºF for the remainder of the cooking time.) The gratin should be bubbling and golden at the edges. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.
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