Paccheri and Cheese with Peas and Mint
My hubby got home starving and was super excited when he saw a pasta and cheese cake. He served himself up a big slice and got 2 bites down before he looks at me in utter horror and says, “Is there mint in this?” I tell him yes, that’s the recipe. He puts his plate down completely dejected, “but I was so hungry and it looked so good…” He ranted about WHY WOULD YOU PUT MINT IN THIS?! and how he was going to write Bon Appetit and tell them they’re assholes for putting out this recipe until I promised to make him some rice-a-roni to replace his dinner. He was so disappointed. I didn’t think it was that bad but I probably won’t add the mint next time. It is on the odd side. Minus the mint, it’d be addictive.
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter plus more for pan
- 1/3 cup plus 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan, divided (about 3 1/2 ounces total)
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups whole milk
- 1 cup shredded Fontina cheese
- 1 large egg
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound paccheri rigati or rigatoni
- 1 cup shelled fresh or frozen peas
- 2 cups coarsely chopped arugula
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh mint
- 1 cup ricotta (about 9 ounces)
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 9″-diameter springform pan
Butter pan. Dust pan all over with 1/3 cup Parmesan. Melt 1/4 cup butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour; whisk for 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk. Bring to a simmer, whisking often. Reduce heat to medium. Cook, whisking frequently, until sauce is thickened, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in Fontina and 1 cup Parmesan. Add egg; whisk to blend. Season with salt and pepper. Cover sauce and keep warm.
Arrange a rack in upper third of oven; preheat to 375°. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until almost al dente (pasta will continue to cook while baking). Using a large slotted spoon, transfer pasta to a large bowl. Add peas to pasta water; cook until just tender, about 1 minute. Drain peas; add to bowl with pasta. Stir in cheese sauce. Add arugula, 1 cup parsley, and 1/2 cup mint to pasta mixture; mix to evenly incorporate.
Transfer half of pasta mixture to prepared pan. Mix ricotta and lemon zest in a small bowl; dot half of ricotta mixture over pasta. Spoon remaining pasta mixture into pan and dot with remaining ricotta mixture. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan.
Bake pasta for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan. Bake pasta until top is golden brown, about 10 minutes longer. Let rest for 30 minutes; remove pan sides. Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp. parsley and 2 Tbsp. mint and cut into wedges.