- Whole-wheat pasta is packed with fiber and whole grains that keep you full and improve cholesterol levels
- Vitamins A and K in asparagus help the body use vitamin D to its fullest
- Calcium-loaded Swiss cheese is good for the bones
55 Min Cook Time |15 Min Prep Time | Serves 10|478 Calories per Serving
- 1 dash kosher salt
- 1 pound whole-wheat penne pasta noodles
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups vitamin D-fortified 1-percent milk
- 2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 dash black pepper
- 4 cups raw asparagus, trimmed of bottom 2 inches and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 10 slices Swiss cheese
- 1 cup panko or regular bread
What You Need
- 9″ x 13″ baking dish
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- Cutting board
- Sharp knife
- Nonstick cooking spray
- Large pot
- Wooden spoon
- Large skillet
How To Make It
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Move the rack to the middle of the oven. Coat a baking pan with cooking spray.
- Bring 4 quarts of water and 2 tablespoons of Kosher salt to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Add the penne noodles and cook for 2 minutes less than the package directions indicate, stirring occasionally. Pasta will be slightly underdone.
- Use a measuring cup or ladle to remove 1/3 cup pasta water and set aside.
- Drain the pasta into a colander over the sink. Then place the pasta back in the pot and set aside.
- Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add flour and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, whisking constantly.
- Pour in the milk, whisking constantly until the mixture starts to thicken, about 2 to 3 minutes. It will first have the consistency of heavy cream, then the consistency of pudding.
- Add the shredded cheese and whisk until smooth. The sauce will be very thick. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.
- Add asparagus, pasta, and reserved 1/3 cup pasta water to the cheese sauce and toss well.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper, then transfer to the prepared baking pan and top with a layer of the cheese slices.
- Cut the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter into 1-inch cubes.
- Sprinkle the panko over the cheese slices, and top with the remaining butter cubes.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown and crisp. The cheese sauce will cook the noodles further.
- Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.