Baked Pasta with Cheddar & Leeks

adapted from Bon Appetit March 2009


½ stick unsalted butter
5 cups chopped leeks, thoroughly washed and patted dry
¼ cup all-purpose flour
3 ½ cups whole milk
4 cups extra-sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 large eggs
1 pound spiral pasta


1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Cook pasta in heavily salted water according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

2. Melt the butter in a large straight edge skillet or deep pot over medium heat. Add the chopped leeks and saute until they are tender and translucent, about 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in the flour and stir constantly for 2 minutes. Gently pour in the milk and bring it to a low simmer. Stir the milk often so that it does not burn on the bottom of the pan. Add the cheese and stir until it has melted. Then turn off the heat and remove the pan to a cool spot.

3. Crack the eggs into a small mixing bowl and gently pour about 1 cup of the hot cheese mixture into the bowl, whisking continuously. This will temper the eggs so that they don’t cook when they are added to the cheese sauce. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet of cheese sauce, whisking constantly.

4. Place the cooked pasta in a 13×9 baking dish. Pour the hot cheese sauce over the pasta and stir it in to make sure it is evenly coated.

5. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the top of the pasta is browned and the cheese sauce is bubbly.

Naptime Notes

Naptime Recipe Serving ideas

This rich dish goes well with a simple light grilled chicken or fish. It is bountiful enough to serve a crowd if you have a lot of holiday guests! The pasta can be left covered in the pan BEFORE baking for up to overnight in the refrigerator. It can also be baked and frozen for a later date.

Naptime Stopwatch

30 minutes to prepare the dish, plus baking time.

Naptime Reviews

My daughter loves this dish, even with the leeks. This is an easy sell for children as well as adults, there is no need to serve up the boxed stuff over the holidays!

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