4 cups milk
2 sprigs thyme
2 tbsp miso
450g (1 lb) dried short pasta e.g. macaroni
100g (3.5 oz) butter
½ cup plain (all-purpose) flour
150g (5 oz) grated gruyere cheese
150g (5 oz) grated swiss cheese
150g (5 oz) grated gouda cheese
150g (5 oz) grated mozzarella
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
finely grated zest 1 lemon
2 tbsp shichimi togarashi*
½ tbsp sea salt
Preheat oven to 180°C/360°F.
Place a large pot of water over high heat and bring to the boil.
In the meantime, place the milk and thyme sprigs in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add in the miso paste and whisk over gentle heat until the miso has just dissolved and the milk is warm but not boiling. Turn the heat off.
Add your pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente (check the packet instructions here for approximate cooking time).
In a separate large saucepan, heat the butter over medium-high heat. When the butter is melted and foaming, add the flour and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes. Now add the warm milk mixture, while stirring. Use a whisk to mix until smooth. Keep whisking over a gentle heat until the mixture has thickened. Turn the heat off. Remove the thyme stalks. Now add in your 4 cheeses. Mix until the cheese has melted.
Drain the pasta and add it to the cheese sauce. Mix until well combined. Pour the pasta and sauce into a large baking or casserole dish. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes or until the top is just starting to turn golden.
In the meantime, make the panko topping by combining the ingredients in a bowl.
Take the baking dish out of the oven. Sprinkle over the panko topping and place back into the oven to bake for another 30 minutes or until the crumbed topping is golden. Serve warm.
– Feel free to replace any of the cheese types with your favourite melting cheese!
– Shichimi togarashi is a Japanese chilli spice blend available in the Asian section of some supermarkets or online.