1. Combine milk, onion, leek, bay leaves, peppercorns, garlic, thyme, celery and parsley in a saucepan. Set over medium heat and bring just to a simmer, then remove from heat, cover and set aside for at least 1 hour. When milk has absorbed flavors, strain out aromatics. Return 5 cups milk to saucepan and heat just to a simmer. Turn off heat but keep milk warm while you make sauce.
2. Make béchamel-cheese sauce: In a separate large saucepan, melt butter and add flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon and smoothing out lumps. Cook, stirring, until you no longer smell the odor of raw flour, about 3 minutes. Add warm milk, about ½ cup at a time, stirring after each addition to thoroughly combine. (At a certain point, you will find it easier to switch to a wire whisk.) Stir in ¼ cup Parmigiano, a pinch of salt and several gratings of nutmeg and continue cooking and stirring until sauce is thick as heavy cream, smooth and velvety, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in mustard and then 4 cups grated cheese. Season to taste with salt and lots of pepper. Return mixture to heat, stirring just until cheeses melt.
3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom and sides of a 3-quart oven dish with 1 tablespoon butter. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter and mix with oil. In a bowl, toss bread cubes with butter-oil mixture and set aside.
4. When water is boiling, add pasta (do not add salt as cheese may be quite salty). Boil according to package directions until pasta is just short of al dente. Drain pasta and immediately add to béchamel-cheese sauce. Season with salt as needed.
5. Spread half of sauced pasta over bottom of greased oven dish. Sprinkle with half of mozzarella and add remaining pasta. Top with bread cubes and remaining mozzarella. Cover with remaining Parmigiano. Bake until top is golden and sauce is bubbling around edges, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley sprigs before serving.
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|Serving Size: 1 Serving (187g)|
|Recipe Makes: 6 Servings|
|Calories from Fat: 136 (64%)|
|Amt Per Serving||% DV|
|Total Fat 15.1g||20 %|
|Saturated Fat 8.2g||41 %|
|Monounsaturated Fat 5.2g|
|Polyunsanturated Fat 0.8g|
|Cholesterol 40mg||12 %|
|Sodium 428.9mg||15 %|
|Potassium 144.1mg||4 %|
|Total Carbohydrate 7g||2 %|
|Dietary Fiber 0.8g||3 %|
|Sugars, other 6.2g|
|Protein 12.6g||18 %|
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Calories per serving: 212
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