Monnezzaglia and Cheese

In Naples Italy, pasta was once sold by weight, not in packages. At the end of the day venders were left with broken pieces and small amounts of various shapes. They were all combined and sold as munnezzaglia, dialect for "all garbage".  Wandering through Williams Sonoma one day, I came across a package of monnezzaglia. (I've seen it spelled with both with a "u" and an "o", but "o" is the spelling used on this package, which is imported from Italy, so let's go with that.)

Doesn't it look like a party in a package? I couldn't resist so I made mac and cheese with it, using Ina Garten's recipe for "Grown Up" Three Cheese Mac and Cheese. But I made the crunchy topping with just butter and fresh bread crumbs and sprinkled it generously on top before baking. Ina adds chopped fresh basil to her topping and crisp bacon to the cheese sauce, which I didn't have in the pantry (and forgot to buy), although those two ingredients would certainly add more layers of flavor. 

Three Cheese Mac Monnezzaglia and Cheese
Adapted from Ina Garten, 2007

Vegetable oil 
Kosher salt 
2 cups monnezzaglia 
1 1/2 cups milk 
2 tablespoons unsalted butter 
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated 
3 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated 
2 ounces blue cheese, such as Roquefort, crumbled 
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
Pinch nutmeg 
bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. 
Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the monnezzaglia and cook according to the directions on the package. Remember, slightly undercooked as you're going to bake it. Drain well. 
Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it. Melt the butter in a medium pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or 2 more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, blue cheese, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into 2 individual size gratin dishes. 

Basic bread crumb topping: Place some bread slices in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until you have coarse crumbs. Dump the bread crumbs in a bowl and add
 some melted butter; sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the top of the pasta. 

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top. 

Would you like to see a healthier recipe idea I found for monnezzaglia? Check HERE. The fun variety of the pasta shows up better in this recipe as well.

Easy enough to make your own Monnezzaglia:
 try to use one brand of quality artisanal pasta and add bottom of the bag leftovers and broken spaghetti. I bet you were already doing that and didn't realize there was a name for it!


  1. Hi Barbara,

    Oh yum! and I love the look of the assorted pasta, such a great idea.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Have a happy new week

  2. I think that is pretty cool!

  3. I just LOVE that package!!
    Since I am a bit of a misfit:) I could be in that package..
    Ina is perfect to make even the ordinary(not in my eyes..yours) taste extraordinary~

  4. Love this look beautiful and really delicious Barbara!

  5. What a beautiful package of pasta! Festive and fun is a great way to describe it. I think I'll get a bunch of monnezzaglia as Christmas gifts. I love Ina Garten's mac and cheese recipe. This is a great way to display these beautiful pasta pieces.

  6. What a tasty & lovely pasta package! :) Your cheese sauce sounds divine with the 3 different cheeses in them!

    A wonderful & well-flavoured pasta dinner!

  7. What a scrumptious dish! I could eat that right now for breakfast. ;-P



  8. The different pastas in the box look like a painting or better still, a lovely gift. I had no idea they had a name.

    Love the combination of three cheeses. Must be delish!

  9. Pasta is such a downfall for me that I'd probably scrape the pieces off the floor, rince them and cook them up. :) Love the combinations of cheeses in this Barbara. I bet it's wonderful. And so colorful.

  10. WOW, the pasta looks sooooooo good, bright and colourful.
    These colours makes me happy :D


  11. Look at that pasta! How much fun is that? You're right...it's a party in a package!

  12. I have used combos of pasta before but getting them done at the same time is always the problem. I guess when they put this batch together they figured it out.

    The package is beautiful, and so is the mac and cheese. One of my favs when the weather cools down!

  13. I'm going to try this version next time I have a craving for cheese and pasta. The Knight mixes shapes all the time...

  14. Gorgeous - and it IS pretty - but how ironic, too, eh? Only in Williams Sonoma would you find a once bottom of the barrel scraps and leftovers elevated to the "new cool".

  15. What a great-looking box of pasta! And, you put it to great use. Ina's mac and cheese recipes are amazing. Love the mix of cheeses in this one!

  16. I've never seen nor heard of the pasta scraps before! What a wonderful way to use that beautiful box of monnezzaglia. I will have to check our WS to see if they carry it.

  17. What fun! Love the multi-colored bows, and the touch of blue cheese!

  18. This looks so yummy. In fact, it's got my tummy growling. I need to eat lunch!

  19. It looks so beautiful for "garbage"! I could probably eat mac and cheese every day and though I haven't tried Ina's recipe I can only imagine how delicious and decadent it is!

  20. I was already making my own Monnezzaglia and didn't even know it! This looks absolutely wonderful...

  21. that pasta is so fun! i love how colorful it is. and i can't think of any better way to use it than this amazing mac and cheese, delicious!

  22. You can never go wrong with mac and cheese!

  23. Loving your gourmet mac and cheese - the best :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  24. That is some seriously fun pasta!

  25. It really does make a lovely package. What a great way to elevate mac and cheese!

  26. I love Pasta and everything related to it.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Follow each other.


  27. These multi-coloured and -shaped pasta looks fantastic!

  28. That monnezzaglia really does look like a party in package -- so pretty! And perfect with Ina's mac and cheese recipe...mmm... :)

  29. What a fun package of pasta...and I love how you prepared it with all kind of cheeses...creamy and rich.
    Thanks for sharing the recipe and hope you are enjoying your week Barbara :)

  30. This looks incredibly decadent. I think I'd like some right now!

  31. Barbara, my mouth is watering at the sight of that gorgeous pasta dish.
    Forget the low cal versions I'll take mine "fully leaded", please!

  32. that's a whole new level of cheesy pasta

  33. Well from reading the ingredients I can tell you one thing my husband and son would love it! Blue cheese is their favorite and they devour it whenever they find it! This is a great Monnezzaglia and Cheese Barbara!

  34. I just love the colors of the mixed pasta…and it looks luscious mixed with all that cheese! Yum!!

  35. this looks utterly and completely satisfying, barbara. on top of it all, the name of that particular pasta is AMAZING. :)

  36. Such cute little pasta! It looks even better after cooked. Slurppp....

  37. Hi Barbara---I apologize for being our of the loop for the past couple of weeks (and now you are on holiday, how nice!)
    nonetheless--your pasta "leftovers" look luscious, and I thank you for the link to my monnezzaglia.



Related Posts with Thumbnails