500 g | 1 pound dry weight pasta (elbow, macaroni, cellentani, or any other pasta)
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup butter
4 cloves garlic , crushed
1/4 cup flour (all purpose or plain)
4 1/2 cups milk , divided (I used skim, but 2% or full fat are fine to use)
1 tablespoon cornstarch (corn flour)
salt and pepper , to season
1 tablespoon chicken bouillon powder (or a vegetable stock powder)
3/4 cup low fat grated cheddar cheese
1 cup grated parmesan cheese , divided
6 ounces low fat mozzarella cheese
Boil pasta in salted water, according to packet instructions, until JUST al dente (do not over-boil)! Drain and rinse well with cold water. Set aside.
Preheat oven grill or broiler to 190°C | 375°F.
FOR CRISPY TOPPING:
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large, oven proof pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add in the Panko breadcrumbs; stir to coat and cook until golden browned. Transfer to a bowl; set aside.
FOR THE SAUCE:
Melt the 1/4 cup of butter in the same pan / skillet. Add the garlic and sauté until just fragrant (about 1 minute). Whisk in the flour; continue to cook while whisking (or stirring) for at least 2 minutes. Reduce heat down to low; gradually whisk in 4 cups of the milk (about 1/4 cup at a time), whisking between each addition to combine. Bring to a boil until beginning to thicken.
In a separate jug, combine the cornstarch and remaining 1/2 cup milk; whisk until lump free and stir through the white sauce to thicken completely. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the bouillon powder.
Remove from heat and add in the cheddar, 3/4 cup of parmesan cheese, and the mozzarella slices. Stir through until all of the cheese has melted. Toss the pasta through the sauce until completely coated.
Top with the Panko and the remaining parmesan cheese. Broil (or grill) in oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until bubbling.
Allow to cool down slightly before serving.